As much as some people want to ignore it, the whole ‘neo thrash renaissance’ machine rumbles ever onwards. Admittedly, I used to be sceptical about the whole thing as I feel that thrash was a whole movement that had ran out of ideas and hit a creative cul-de-sac. However, since doing some open minded research on the newer breeds of bands doing the rounds (Municipal Waste, SSS, Gama Bomb, Evile, and Skull Fist to name drop a few) I’ve found the whole thing to be irresistibly catchy. Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing for me, or there’s a deeper causality that bored into my brain with it all. Either way, I worked out that it certainly isn’t a bad thing and I hope it continues for some time.
Which leads me onto a stunning thrash metal band that’s emerged from Finland, called Foreseen that I discovered entirely by accident with the “Structural Oppression” two track EP – a band that on these mere two tracks alone blew me away. Containing an incredible sense of energy, with massive hook laden thrash ear worms that burrowed deep into the brain. Needless to say, I was pleased to get my hands on their début album in the form of “Helsinki Savagery” .
What can be expected from this band, that places it within the upper echelons of neo thrash and gives long established acts a run for their money? Well, quite a lot actually – you’d be quite surprised by them and I reckon it will raise the eyebrows of the metal cynics that are out there. The basic template for the band is thrash metal with a punk edge, played for the most part at break neck speed. The best way to describe the sound is imagine Crumsuckers, Cro Mags, Nuclear Assault and C.I.A. thrown into a blender; it has an extremely strong sonic identity that doesn’t sound like a glaringly obvious pastiche of the aforementioned bands.
First off, ‘Slam Savagery’ starts off with squally distortion noises that reminds me of the craft in the film ‘Quatermass And The Pit’ and instantly starts off into a breakneck Nuclear Assault riff; a riff that’s so catchy it makes you want to circle pit around your living room even though you’re just a minute into the track. But, it’s not all – you notice there’s no vocals on the track and it’s a mere intro. ‘Death Injection’ kicks in with distinct overtones of early Slayer riffs; the vocals throughout the album are heavily accented English that sound like a cross between vintage era Max Cavalera and Tom Angelripper. Gang chanted chorus are very prevalent, of the “fist in the air” chest beating variety. The format keeps to a similar fast pace, until we hit ‘Bonded By United Blood’; a track that’s slower but still maintains a frenetic pace, picking up momentum after a gritty bass solo and excellent guitar solos towards the end of the track.
You encounter the track ‘Interlude’, which may sound as if it will be a pretentious acoustic guitar and piano based ponderous number. Nope, totally wrong – a brilliant thrash instrumental that along with the intro track of ‘Slam Savagery’ played earlier shows that these are a bunch of incredibly talented guys. The most captivating thing about the album is a raw passion, bursting with hyperactive and incredibly contagious energy – something that long established bands appear to have forgotten about because they have enough money to pay for mansions and flash cars. The vocals and guitar attack kicks back ‘Structural Oppression’, that have distinct traces of Testament and an underlying Megadeth chug; especially when it slows down at the 2 minute 50 second mark with the guitar solos. ‘Delusions Of No Consequence’ and ‘Both Sides Lose’ have elements of punk grit that is distinctly more prevalent than previous tracks, especially when the latter bursts into hyperactive riffage. Lastly ‘Paving The Way is a glorious stomping closer that ends in a sea of distorted guitar squeals.
In a logical world, with many thrash bands sounding quite similar and lacking the wide variety of black metal – the movement should have died a death. Just like punk that helped to inspire it, thrash metal is like some form of musical zombie that keeps on returning. But when the forefathers and creators of the scene have become tame over the decades, these new batch of bands are giving the classics a run for their money. Foreseen are a shining example of carrying the genre ever onward, that I would quite happily file amongst the original thrash greats that no doubt inspired them. Without shadow of a doubt, I’d say it’s a thrash metal classic already and an essential purchase for thrash fans old and new.