AFM Records [Release date 20.09.13]  

When the Bristol-based Thrash Metalers Onslaught decided to give this music business thing another try back in 2005, quite a few people, myself included, were slightly sceptical as to how long this second phase in the band’s career would actually last.

Well, though line- up changes continue to be part of the game, so to speak, guitarist and founding member Nige Rockett has managed to retain the band’s compositional core intact and, following on from the success of 2011’s “Sounds Of Violence”, to bring to life another collection of highly-energetic and awe-inspiring Thrash Metal songs under the simple but fairly meaningful title “VI”.

It is no secret that none of the bands which helped shape the style and sound of the Thrash Metal genre came from the United Kingdom, but that did not stop the selected few which did manage to achieve some sort of international exposure to present the community with refreshing variations of well-established formulae. And this is exactly what Onslaught have once again achieved with their sixth studio album.

With the guitar duet Rockett/Rosser-Davies in devilish form and frontman Sy Keeler at his aggressive best, “VI” is testament to the band’s ability to take the best elements out of the music of bands like Slayer, Destruction and even Annihilator and present them to us in a fresh and truly inspiring fashion.

Following a short atmospheric intro entitled “A New World Order” the album reveals its true colours with “Chaos Is King” – a four minute blaster filled with harsh Destruction-style vocals, crunchy up-tempo riffs and ruthless drum beating courtesy of the band’s newest member Mike Hourihan.

Head banging is the order of the day, as suggested…well, rather imposed, by the crunchy riffs which dominate the anthemic “Fuel For My Fire”, while “Children Of The Sand” finds Onslaught successfully employing some truly inspiring oriental-style scales. “Slaughterize” and “Cruci-Fiction” are both simple-crafted but quite intelligent riff-based tracks which keep a healthy momentum for the album while, sandwiched between them, is “66’Fuckin’6” – a five minute Thrash monster filled with blazing Exodus-sounding riffs, flamboyant solos and an anthemic refrain simply to die for!

The album concludes with two very energetic pieces: “Dean Man Walking” operates a fast riff similar to late 80s Annihilator, while in “Enemy Of My Enemy”, the late Jeff Hanneman (Slayer) is given a form off tribute the likes of which only a band as experienced and skilled as Onslaught can provide.

With “VI” being the third studio album released by the band in six years, Onslaught’s second career phase equals that of the early to late 80s in terms of duration. As far as the input is concerned?

Well, Thrash Metal purists may find it very difficult to accept that there could be an album to better “Power From Hell” (1985) and “The Force” (1986), but the truth of the matter is that the Onslaught of 2013 sounds more professional, focused and aggressive than ever and “VI” is the album to prove that they deserve all the attention they can possibly get from fans of good quality Metal!

John Stefanis

Rating: **** (4.0/5.0)

 

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