Onslaught – VI

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AFM Records

Review by Carl “ThunderGod” Pickles

From the title, it is somewhat unsurprising that this is the boys from Bristol’s sixth album. What is surprising however, is how good this album is.  Now, before you get on your high horse, I’m not saying Onslaught release poor albums. What I’m trying to say is that this is a fabulous slab of Thrash, showing the young upstarts how it’s done.

Gama Bomb, Municipal Waste, Bonded By Blood take note, lads.

This is how it’s done.

The first thing that strikes is that this is a more immediate album than their previous effort, Sounds Of Violence. The band seem tighter and more focussed this time around.

We are the chaos legions, we fight with an iron fist. We play the devil’s music, we are the union of the six”, Sy Keeler snarls in the chorus of 66Fuckin’6. That right there sums up the whole album perfectly. There’s absolutely no question that this is Thrash done right. Old School and defiantly (and quite rightly) proud of that. There is not one single song that doesn’t at least get your head nodding and a measured level of fury within these grooves that showcases the strength of the partnership between Nige Rocket and Andy Rosser-Davies. The riffage and soloing are at times highly reminiscent of Messrs King and Hanneman at their finest and most savage. The partnership of Jeff Williams and new boy Mic Hourihan sounds like it’s been going for decades. Hourihan’s drumming is recognizably different to his predecessor, Steve Grice. He’s more aggressive behind the kit. Not at all surprising when you consider that he is a founder-member of Desecration and ex-member of Extreme Noise Terror… and Tigertailz. I really wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this album to any Slayer fans who need a fix whilst waiting to find out what’s going to happen to the Thrash titans.

After a gentle introduction in the shape of A New World Order, the pummelling commences with a true statement of intent in the shape of Chaos Is King and barely lets up from there.

The heads-down charge doesn’t let up as the band roll into Fuel For My Fire. It’s majestic opening giving way to a brutal riff and a venomous vocal delivery from Keeler and very interesting Iced Earth-like harmonies evident in the chorus.

Children Of The Sand sees the band changing the formula a little, throwing a Middle Eastern flavour into the mix. The Arabian motif continues through the song, with a wailing female backing vocal and Middle Eastern-influenced melody lines and lyrics, making it one of the highlights of the album.

From there, the quality doesn’t let up until Enemy Of My Enemy fades from your speakers. Trying to pick another highlight is difficult, but the one that springs to mind most readily is the aforementioned 66Fuckin’6. The musical box opening slides into a crushing riff that just will not let go. You’ll be singing along to the chorus the second time you hear it. That one’s going to be a live favourite.

Onslaught are on top form with this one. The quality level doesn’t drop right the way through. If you like your Thrash, you need this one. That’s right. Need.

Rating: ****½

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