Say the word “Thrash” at TINAS towers and we’re like a bunch of meerkats as our heads spring from our desks. Add the words “we have a new thrash album”, and we positively turn hyperactive, as we scramble for the stereo. Today’s fit inducing thrash offering comes courtesy of German 5 piece, I Spit Ashes, and their Massacre Records debut, “Inhaling Blackness… Reflecting Light”, and what’s more it’s not too shabby at all.
It is a little bit ‘Thrash by numbers’, and predictable; the typical gloom piano based intro ‘N.D.X’, before frontman Benedikt Rathsmann announces his arrival with, “Oh Fuck”, then the band kicks in to business with ‘Missper’. Chunky, wrist cramping riffing aplenty, this is just what we like to hear. Vocally not exactly the most groundbreaking, but definitely competent enough to get your head thumping.
So all the boxes ticked so far and all going well, but there’s a bit of a gripe developing. Like an itch that you cant quite scratch. Those bloody keyboards. Ok, so it’s “modern thrash”, or “melodic death metal” and they are German after all, but the odd plink and plonk here and there is a tad annoying, and doesn’t add anything really. The Rammstein-esque breakdowns we hear in the likes of “Cracks in the Mirror” are ok, and “Eclipse’s” undulating background synths are also fair enough, even though they are a bit soppy. “Crossing The Borderline” is a quality tune though, one that you struggle to get out of your head.
Again it’s another one of those albums where we need to mention potential. These guys have it in spades, they flit between traditional thrash, keyboard laced thrash, melodic death and industrial, without sitting comfortably in any… but there could be the argument of “is this a bad thing?”
The issue is that they are good at all the aspects they encompass, but they don’t really excel. More of a “Jack of all trades, master of none” kind of scenario. Frustrating, because these guys could be awesome, rather than just pretty good. I Spit Ashes, are tailor made for the mainland European market, but British audiences may want a little more abrasion from the guitars… so much so that the keyboards are totally drowned out.
It’s good, just not brilliant.