Released in early 2016, “Bedlam” is the debut full-length from American thrashers Suppressive Fire. Black/thrash is the name of the game on this release, as it consistently offers some very rough around the edges thrash, primarily due to both the production and the vocals. This means that the guitars have more of a buzzing feeling to them throughout the records, which proves to be quite effective. Unfortunately, every instrument is often left to fight with the drums, which are simply overpowering. This is particularly evident on songs like “Coup d’état” or even the opener, “Ceasefire”, where there is a lot of blasting. The primary issue is that the snare drum is both a little too loud, and doesn’t sound particularly good.
Nevertheless, this is only a slight distraction from the riff-filled mayhem that ensues throughout the record. The aforementioned “Ceasefire” shows the band at their best, as it makes use of gang vocals in true thrash fashion. In general, however, the appeal of “Bedlam” is the fact that it’s considerably tighter than a lot of other black/thrash. Bands in this style are often a little sloppier, and while Suppressive Fire does have some production issues, it does not effect their playing at all, which has tons of wicked drum patterns, interesting solos, and most importantly, great riffs. There even a bass solo on “Coup d’état”! The growls on this album will definitely remind you of any number of German thrash singers, with slightly more emphasis on the blackened side of things.
As “Bedlam” progresses, it does tend to wear thin. Suppressive Fire is able to get their point across relatively quickly, and does not have much variation throughout the album. If the drums were a little less in the foreground (and used less blasting), it would probably be an easier listen. Regardless, there is a lot to like here, and “Bedlam” is undoubtedly going to satisfy the needs of any black/thrash-seeking metal fan.
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"Thy Flesh Consumed"
3.5/5 or 70%.
Written by Scott