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Various Artists (Earache)

Review by Jeff Maki
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Thrash metal fans rejoice! The genre has been resurrected and a new era of bands has emerged. Though nothing entirely new has been added to it, a modern twist is being put to disc, paying tribute to the legendary acts that spawned it—Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Exodus, Testament and many more. Everything comes full circle and thrash metal is no exception. Earache Records has done all us metal fans a great service by releasing the compilation Thrashing Like A Maniac (its name taken from Metallica's “Whiplash”). In the spirit of Metal Massacre (the compilation which launched Metallica in 1982), this album gathers the artists currently defining the genre. So, lace up those high-top Reebok sneakers, throw on your jean jackets, wet down that moppy head of yours and prepare yourself—it's 1986 revisited.

Earache must be commended for jumping the gun on everyone else out there and compiling this album. And to give credit where it's due, I feel that one of their very own artists is largely responsible for the revival. Thrash metal had been dead for the better part of a decade and showed no signs of a return. It wasn't until I caught Municipal Waste's set on Sounds of the Underground 2006 that I realized thrash metal was on the verge of coming back. They show up here with one of their trademark assaults in “The Art of Partying.” Municipal Waste, in my opinion, quickly is becoming the Anthrax of the modern era. In the year or so that followed, numerous other bands came out of the woodwork and many are featured here. One of the best of the new blood is Evile, also on Earache Records. Their song, simply titled “Thrasher,” is a life-code for fans, describing the ins and outs of being at a thrash show and living the life. And, oh yeah, they shred as well. I'd liken them to the new Exodus. Decadence's “Corrosion” is also a standout, featuring a brutal double-bass attack and a demonic female vocalist, “Metallic” Kitty Saric. The band is from Stockholm, Sweden and is on a similar path as Arch Enemy. Warbringer is a band I recently reviewed on this site and is another rising force. They have one goal and one goal alone: To rip the listener's face apart and bang as many heads as possible with their high speed onslaught. “Total War” is featured here and Warbringer has a shot at being the next Slayer. SSS (stands for Short Sharp Shock) plays a more hardcore-oriented thrash similar to S.O.D. or Suicidal Tendencies and their song “Overload” sounds like a skater's anthem.

There is some filler here. “Zombie Brew” from Gamma Bomb is downright silly. Merciless Death's “Exhumer” and “Atomic Nightmare” from Brazil's Violator are decent offerings, but nothing comes unexpectedly. On the other hand, take one listen to “Last Breath” from Wisconsin's Lazarus and see if the guitars don't make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Kreator comes to mind when I hear this track.

Thrashing Like A Maniac does extremely well in showcasing some of the best new acts in thrash metal. I recommend this to any fans of the original acts that started it, as well as new metalheads eager to bang heads and pump fists. The CD booklet also gives information and web links for all of the bands. So what are you waiting for? Don't have those white high-tops laced up yet? Get out there and pick this record up. As they say, thrash 'till death!

1. "Immortal Life" - Bonded By Blood
2. "Thrasher" - Evile
3. "The Art Of Partying" - Municipal Waste
4. "Deathstrike Command" - Dekapitator
5. "Massive Execution" - Fueled By Fire
6. "Corrosion" - Decadence
7. "Total War" - Warbringer
8. "Overload" - SSS
9. "Zombie Brew" - Gama Bomb
10. "Exumer" - Merciless Death
11. "Resistance Is Futile" - Deadfall
12. "Last Breathe" - Lazarus
13. "War Is Hell" - Toxic Holocaust
14. "Psycho Surgery" - Mutant
15. "Atomic Nightmare" - Violator
16. "Twilight Of The Flies" - Send More Paramedics