Saturday, November 29, 2014

Alkoholizer – Free Beer… Surf’s Up

As if it weren’t already hard enough to stand out in the modern thrash metal scene, Italy is making things even more difficult. There are simply so many bands out there at this point that it’s difficult to attract any special attention, particularly when everyone sounds like Exodus. Fortunately for Punishment 18 Records recruits Alkoholizer, they’ve been around for a while, and already have a full-length album to their name prior to the release of “Free Beer… Surf’s Up”. As you may have deduced already, this new album is like much of what you’ve already heard from the Italian thrash scene: good (albeit generic) riffs, quick shouting with an accent, and lots of speed. Alkoholizer also makes plentiful use of gang vocals, to the point where it sometimes feels like there are more gang vocals than lead vocals (see “The Hogmosh – Nozno Strikes Back!!!” for an example).

The band’s approach to lyricism and fun is reminiscent of fellow countrymen Hyades. There are songs about skating and drinking, and tracks with an unnecessary number of exclamation points. Unfortunately the songs themselves do nothing to stand out. Sure, there are some really cool things about this album (the occasional high-pitched scream, absolutely shredding guitars, etc.), but they’re only good for as long as the album lasts. The only thing especially memorable about this album is – true to the track’s name – “Surfin’ Beer”, which features some surf rock melodies through heavily distorted guitars.

From a production standpoint, everything is up to par. The mix is good (even the bass), and the drums and guitars both sound heavy without being overbearing. The album leans more towards a modern, full sound rather than something deliberately poor sounding. Riffs are in no short supply, and the buzz of the guitars makes them that much better. Much like the vocals, there is simply such an assault of riffs that it becomes hard to differentiate one from the next. This is both good and bad; on the one hand, you get a record where you’ll find a new riff every time you listen to it. On the other hand, the flurry of riffs makes it impossible to remember any of them, particularly as there isn’t one that stands above the others.

In summary, this album is exactly what it looks like: a relentless thrashing record from a band whose heart lies with the Bay Area scene. If you’re still looking for more of this stuff, by all means check out Alkoholizer. As someone who has heard enough of this sound for a lifetime, this is an album I probably won’t reach for too often.

Be sure to check out and like Alkoholizer on Facebook!

All of it.

Final Rating
3.5/5 or 70%. 

Written by Scott

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