It has been four long years since Gama Bomb’s last offering, but they’ve returned in 2013 with their next offering of thrash: “The Terror Tapes”. The song titles and album artwork gave one thing away quickly: Gama Bomb wasn’t changing at all. Over the course of 36 minutes, these Irish thrashers deliver a relentless feast of riffs, speed, and aggression. Complimented by wacky lyrics, and a cartoonish singer, Gama Bomb know how to put out a record that sounds distinctively like it’s from 80’s. The only way you’ll even know that it is more recent is due to the modern production. The phrase “modern production” is usually code for having a loud and terrible sound, but that isn’t the case on “The Terror Tapes”. Rather, every instrument (except for the bass, as you might have guessed) is prominently featured, and doesn’t drown out any other instruments.
Everything is shaping up nicely for another fantastic Gama Bomb album, but now it comes down to the quality of the songs. “Citizen Brain” was the pinnacle of this sound. Every track was infectiously catchy, and delivered skull-impaling riffs. The next two albums (“The Terror Tapes” included) feature the latter, but not the former. There is no shortage of riffs here, as every track features so many riffs that many of them are indistinguishable from the ones that were just one track prior. This just leaves the memorability of these songs. As with other Gama Bomb albums, this quality is derived from the interplay of Philly Byrne’s comedic voice and the numerous gang vocal sections. Luckily, these parts are apparent on nearly every track. It is only a select number of songs, however, where these moments are as brilliant as they were in the past. Anthems like “Backwards Bible”, “We Started The Fire”, and “Terrorscope” are likely to become future classics, but most of the second half of “The Terror Tapes” is an exercise in redundancy. Quite a few songs are nothing we haven’t heard before, and, by this point in their career, really add nothing of value to the record.
It’s important to keep this in perspective, however. Gama Bomb is still one of the top bands of the scene, and unlike many other bands, they are still putting out extremely enjoyable thrash that has yet to wimp out on speed. Some bands dig themselves into a hole by creating brilliant work early in their career. Gama Bomb did that with “Citizen Brain”, and while this record may not match that prior album, it is still quality thrash.
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"We Started The Fire"
4.2/5 or 84%.
Written by Scott