Seax is one of many bands from the metal-rich state of Massachusetts, and like many of their peers, the band’s sound is made clear from their imagery. “Speed Metal Mania” is primarily old-school speed metal, bred from the purest bands of the 1980s. Unsurprisingly, this album consists of 40+ minutes of devastating riffage, shouting vocals that veer into high-pitched absurdity at times (see the intro of "Nuclear Overdose"), and energetic anthems. Seax definitely takes influence from the rougher side of the subgenre; the backpatches of Exciter and Motorhead that adorn the headbangers on the front cover are definitely accurate. Though the playing on this record is tight, it isn’t overly clean like a lot of modern bands. Seax instead opts to recreate dirtier speed metal. This also means that the riffs tend to sound like NWOBHM riffs played at double speed, and the solos are wild and furious rather than virtuosic.
At times, “Speed Metal Mania” borders on thrash. Songs like “Forged By Metal” and "Nuclear Overdose" push the tempo several steps further, recalling bands like Razor or Holy Terror who had a speed metal essence to their thrashing approach. The band’s willingness to use grittier, crunchy riffs rather than chugging also helps them remain more in the speed metal territory. Seax also makes use of some chords with different intervals than the typical power chords (this is especially evident on the opening two songs as well as "Doomsday Society"). These types of riffs allow the bass to stand out more easily, resulting in a fuller sound.
There isn’t a lot of room for criticism of “Speed Metal Mania”. It isn’t original, nor is it the best-written set of songs (though the shouted choruses are easy to latch onto), but there is an endless amount of passion and vigor driving this 5-piece group, and that alone is a reason to check out this album. It could probably benefit from being a couple of tracks shorter, but there isn’t a song that comes to mind that would be easy to eliminate (other than the 1-minute interlude “Wastelands”). At worst, you could say “Speed Metal Mania” is one good album that is lost amongst an endless sea of enjoyable metal records. Even that would be an injustice to this album though, because it does exceed what many other similar bands are doing. Regardless, “Speed Metal Mania” stands on its own as a record that delivers exactly what it promises: speed metal mania!
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"Speed Metal Mania"
"Forged By Metal"
4.0/5 or 80%.
Written by Scott