|Onslaught - 'Sounds Of Violence' (AFM Records)|
|Written by Darrel Sutton|
|Friday, 14 January 2011 05:00|
They don't make many of them, but when Onslaught release an album the focus is definitely on quality over quantity. Despite this being only their 5th studio album in their 28 year history (OK, they did have a 14 year hiatus) you'd swear they spend most of their life recording such is the all-round excellence of this.
When Nige Rockett and Jeff Williams both enthused at length about how aggressive the music for this opus was turning out to be, whilst you wouldn't have dared doubted them, neither could you have truly realised just how bang-on their proclamations were. This album is a fucking monster, and it's fair to say the title of the album couldn't be more apt. By the time you've reached the end of the album, be sure to go to the bathroom and try out the new arsehole it will have ripped for you.
The piano intro of 'Into The Abyss' entices you straight into the right-hook of 'Born For War' and the sheer aggression really hits you head-on. Jacob Hansen's production is razor-sharp and brings the twin guitar attack of Nige Rockett and Andy Rosser-Davies to the fore. Couple this with the precision brutality of drummer Steve Grice and bassist Jeff Williams and you've got as damn fine a thrash assault as you'll find. Sy Keeler also turns in easily his best performance, with his lyrical vitriol giving you numerous "Spitting Blood In The Face Of God....." moments throughout each of the songs on offer (including either one or two bonus tracks depending on whether you buy the regular or the limited Digipack versions available).
Following the full-throttle violence of the opener, the title track hits you with a killer groove that is a neck ache waiting to happen. It also shows that Onslaught have got all the chops of their more recognised American peers, and sees them mixing it with the very best of all the greats of the Thrash genre. Imagine if Exodus, Slayer and Testament all brought their "A game" and you'll get an idea of how good this is. 'Code Black' is built on a molasses-thick riff and has a brooding menace that is quite chilling. 'Rest In Pieces' is the best bits of 'Killing Peace' encapsulated in four and a half minutes and again shows Keeler at the peak of his powers. 'Godhead' really reminds me of Slayer's 'Diabolus In Musica' with a monstrous riff and shows the bands disdain for organised religion is as strong as ever. 'Hatebox', 'Antitheist' and 'Suicideology' all take turns to ensure the intensity never relents, with huge grooves, and pace ranging from killing to sheer menace and more hooks and riffs than most bands can pull off in a career. They then top it all off with recent single and, in my opinion, one of the best cover versions I've ever heard. Their version of Motorhead's "Bomber" with guest appearances from Phil Campbell and Sodom's Tom Angelripper is sheer fucking brilliance. Incredibly faithful stylistically, it brings a true classic into this century in tremendous fashion and tops off an absolutely storming album in style.
This record should finally pave the way for Onslaught to making a long overdue step to another level. It wipes the floor with most of their peers' recent outputs (and I mean that with the utmost respect as there has been some shit-hot stuff come out in the last year, but this really is a step above) as well as that of much more high profile bands. I would love to see Onslaught get themselves onto the mother of all worldwide package tours and show everyone just how to kill the Onslaught way.
A very early and very real contender for album of the year.