When it comes to the “Big 4” of thrash metal in the year 2013, there has already been plenty of drama. Four months in and Slayer have kicked original member Dave Lombardo out of the band because of disagreements over money, and in the process the fearsome thrashers have turned into squabbling businessmen. Anthrax have parted ways with a long-time member in Rob Caggiano, and Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine can’t seem to keep his mouth shut—although he never could—and has recently been quoted saying the most asinine of things. Metallica, drama-wise, have been the quietest of the bunch, off in the background sweating about how to sound relevant on their next record.
With thrash metal’s four major pillars in various states of disarray, it’s fallen upon the new breed to keep the focus on the most important thing: the music. Over the last few years, both Nekromantheon and Revocation have been a revelation. Havok and Evile have also been developing nicely, with big records expected from these bands in the near future. Imminently, Irish veterans Gama Bomb will drop The Terror Tapes, a career best and a leading candidate for thrash album of the year. Meanwhile, the young guns of Finland’s Lost Society are sure to chase Gama Bomb riffs-for-excitable-riff across the 2013 thrash metal finish-line with their Nuclear Blast debut, Fast Loud Death.
Finland is not a place you would normally expect to find a band raised on American thrash metal, whose four members, incredibly, range from 17 to 19 years old. The irony that these guys were only a twinkle in their fathers’ eye when Exodus, Testament, and the “Dramatic 4™” rampaged across the world during the ‘80s is not lost on anyone. But when it comes to tapping into the energy of these legends at their peak, these four Finns do it as good, if not better than any band in recent memory. “N.W.L” stomps like S.O.D. and takes off like late-‘80s Metallica. “Trash All Over You” and “E.A.G.” have tons of crossover appeal with gang chants and snot-nosed punk exuberance. There are dashes of early Megadeth during “Fast Loud Death” and “Braindead Metalhead”, while the taut, signature riffing of Anthrax shakes “Diary of a Thrashband”. And as Thrash just so happens to be the one genre in the metal-sphere that a band wearing their influences brazenly is a cause for celebration, Fast Loud Death is a complete riot.
Where the likes of Revocation excel through blinding technicality, these teenagers are all about memorable, ballsy songs that sound loose and lively. With the exception of “Kill (Those Who Oppose Me)”, which is a blur of tightly picked riffs and rapid double bass, Lost Society’s thrash is all ramshackle ‘n’ roll. This band also has a “fuck you” attitude, similar to fellow countrymen Children of Bodom back when they broke away from the fjords, and this reckless abandon ripples through Samy Elbanna’s snarling vocals, the whiplash rhythms, chugging grooves, and spritely solos. “Bitch Out’ My Way” is arguably the best track on Fast Loud Death, a righteous thrash anthem that rips through Kill ‘Em All-worthy riffs, manic pyschobilly rhythms, and catchy vocal chants. And sure the lyrics of this song and the LP as a whole (see: “Piss Out My Ass”) are juvenile, but what else would you expect from a bunch of talented teenagers giddy on the thrill of just thrashing out? Fast Loud Death is just that: It’s thrilling and it’s brash. It’s also a modern thrash record that’s good enough to compel old school fans to squeeze into their well-worn Overkill t-shirt, shotgun ten beers, and thrash like a maniac. What more could you want?