Every live music scene seems to have its fair share of workhorse bands; groups that give lifeblood to the scene with their dedication and talent, but never seem to get the recognition they deserve. Desecrator could be said to be one of those bands. With a road warrior work ethic of getting out and playing as many shows as possible, the band had raked up 9 years of experience before getting around to putting out a studio release. The question is can this crew of Aussie thrash bandits bring the energy of their live show to the studio?
The good news is that the band’s well-oiled machinery and dedication to riffcraft is readily apparent on To The Gallows. From the opening seconds of the title track, it’s clear that thrash is the name of the game and Desecrator isn’t going to stuff anyone around by wasting time. There’s plenty of frantic guitars and pounding drums honed by 9 years of live shows. The best point of reference for To The Gallows are the workmanlike efforts of second-tier thrash acts like Overkill or Forbidden. It’s bangers and thrash approach may not be breaking any new ground, but there’s real passion on display here. It shows on songs like the title track and Red Steel Nation where it feels like quality riffs are jostling with each other to find space in the run time of the song.
Another aspect worth highlighting is the efforts of vocalist Riley Strong. His half-sung/half-barked vocal style sounds a bit like a cross between Bobby Blitz circa Feel the Fire/Wrecking Crew and Phil Flores from short lived LA thrash act Evildead. You can hear this influence in the way he intonates on the main bridge of Desert for Days. Showing some love to the thrash deep cuts like this shows a real appreciation of the craft on his part, and makes for a refreshing change from every other Hetfield/Araya styled re-thrash vocalist out there.
There’s plenty of strength to be found in songs like Down To Hell and the tongue in cheek fun of Thrash is a Verb. They even snuck in the classic Metallica move of putting a ballad in as track 4 with As I Die. Elsewhere, Brainscan ups the aggression with its dystopian imagery and further boosts the band’s live chops by throwing in what sounds like a recorded live in studio hidden track.
Much like the band itself, To The Gallows is as straight shooting as it comes. While you won’t get much in the way of surprises, what you will find here is a gutload of passion sweated out over 9 years on stage. For Desecrator’s dedication to both their craft and the life of a road band, they deserve a heart amount of respect. Horns way up for this release.
To The Gallows is out now.