Maelstrom is one of many bands from the late 80’s who have risen from the dead to give us music once again. Unlike many of their counterparts, however, Maelstrom never actually released a full-length back in the 80’s. In keeping with tradition, the band has given us an EP of three songs that were written in 1988, but not recorded until 20 years later.
“It Was Predestined” is a strange release. On the one hand, there is some exceptionally competent, straightforward death/thrash, not unlike that later played by Gammacide and Demolition Hammer, among others. On the other, the band (more like multi-instrumentalist Joe Lodespoto) unleashes into some insane guitar work. He isn’t just playing great guitar solos; he’s throwing in some harmonized sweep picking and plenty of other fun tricks as well. At times, the music definitely reveals a lot of classical influence. This is most obvious in the solo break in the opener, “Arise”, as well as towards the beginning of “A Futile Crusade”. The vocals are somewhat of a different take on thrash. While they definitely have harsh undertones, it is almost as if Gary Vosganian manages to make his speaking voice as brutal sounding as possible, without actually singing. It is quite honestly the first time I’ve heard a vocalist sound like this, and is well worth hearing. In addition to this speaking-screaming style, he also employs the brutal rasp found in most death/thrash.
In a matter of 20 minutes, Maelstrom managed to put a variety of influences and sounds into an EP that sounds extremely unique, even for 2008. The riffing and the rhythm work get so intense that you’ll definitely get a case of whiplash from headbanging to this album. And yet, at times, this is unbelievably progressive. Fans of Coroner, Voivod, and Toxik will definitely notice some similarities between the bands. I’m a bit baffled that the band has only released an EP in the last four years. This is seriously some of the most unique music I’ve ever heard, and I can’t believe they haven’t benefitted from the thrash resurgence like others have. My advice: track this one down now!
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"A Futile Crusade"
4.5/5 or 90%.
Written by Scott