One look at the logo of Illinois’ Living Terror is all you need to know you’re in for a thrashing good time! “Warfare”, their sole release to this point, is a 2-song demo that offers up some of the more inspired black/thrash metal in existence among newer bands. The black metal influences come entirely from the vocals, which are incredibly raspy and more on the higher-pitched side of things. This actually comes as somewhat of a surprise in contrast to the music, which is very straight forward thrash metal, and would not have been out of place in any number of famous 1980s thrash scenes. While Living Terror is generally good about mixing up tempos by offering at least a little bit of mid-paced aggression, there is no shortage of speed on this demo. A fantastic example is one minute into the title track, where after running through a riff a couple of times, the band’s drummer kicks things into overdrive by loading on the double bass. This is a fantastic, Slayer-esque technique that has largely disappeared in thrash due to the commonplace nature of double bass.
The subsequent track, “Lust For Blood”, takes a different approach as relies on more of a mid-paced gallop. Again, the riffs are simplistic, but incredibly effective. Things do eventually speed up, as the band throws some wicked trills into a crazed-alternate picking pattern. The ability to seamlessly transition between these two sections is impressive, and makes “Lust For Blood” feel incredibly natural. This is really a good way to describe the demo as a whole; as much as I love modern thrash, this release doesn’t sound modern at all. The production is sharp enough to give the guitars a serious attack without dominating the low end (meaning that the bass stands out easily). The drums also don’t overpower the rest of the band, making for a balanced-sounding release. My only real complaint is that I’d prefer a more standard vocal approach. It’s easy to imagine these guys with a distinctive, Zetro or Blitz-esque singer, and how wicked it would sound. Nevertheless, “Warfare” is a seriously bright spot for thrash right now, and the wait for the inevitable full-length has begun!
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"Lust For Blood"
4.3/5 or 86%.
Written by Scott