Florida is known for two main contributions to metal: fantastic old-school death metal and Savatage. Aside from Nasty Savage, it seems as though few thrash bands from the 80’s came out of Florida. 25 years later, however, the band Lacerate delivers thrashing goodness to the people in the Southeast United States. “Savage Devastation” is their first demo and sole release to this point. It is a competent effort with plenty of riffs alongside a couple of really cool covers.
Before getting to the songs, it’s worth pointing out the guitar tone. Some may call it weak because it isn’t punchy or in your face, but the better term for this guitar tone is buzzsaw. This sound brings back memories of Destruction and Razor, among others, and a thrash band couldn’t ask for any higher compliment. Unfortunately the album is pretty quiet, but if you crank it loud enough, these guitars move to the forefront of things. The riffs tend to be pretty standard thrash fanfare. There aren’t many that stick out, but there certainly aren’t any that suck. Lacerate is a band that understands the art of writing riffs, and it’s not hard to imagine them creating some truly deadly riffs with a bit more practice. Over top of the buzzing of the guitars comes the voice of James Brooks. His vocals epitomize thrash. They are a standard shout, which is entirely devoid of melody. This is some attempt at avoiding being completely monotone, and Brooks generally succeeds in this regard. The band could benefit from having slightly more character in the vocals, but Brooks’ style is actually so simplistic that it manages to differ from many other thrash bands out there.
“Savage Devastation” consists of five original tracks aside from the two covers, and they tend to be relatively similar. There is the occasional slower moment, or rage-causing, mosh-inducing riff, but you can mostly predict what the demo sounds like before you hear it. The songs are not particularly memorable, but certain parts will stay with you after a couple of listens. The cover of Sodom’s “Outbreak of Evil” is particularly interesting because it manages to be considerably tighter than the original and puts an impressive spin on the track. This was definitely an excellent choice for a cover, and Lacerate does the song justice.
Lacerate is a band that shows a lot of promise. It may appear from this review that this demo is somewhat mediocre, but that’s just not the case. Unfortunately it is becoming increasingly more difficult to stand out in the metal world, particularly as a thrash band where the confines of the subgenre are so limited. With some more practice in songwriting, and a better production job, it’s easy to see how Lacerate could become a top thrash band in the near future. Since this is a demo release, I really can’t fault the band for anything, as they’ve put together a very respectable set of songs that leaves me awaiting their next output.
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All of it
3.8/5 or 76%.
Written by Scott