Gama Bomb - The Terror Tapes
AFM Records
Thrash Metal
12 songs (36' 2")
Release year: 2013
AFM Records
Reviewed by Andy

Faster, more precise, and still as goofy as ever, Gama Bomb's latest, The Terror Tapes, continues the band's fervent 80s crossover thrash worship. Even the cover art -- a man being eaten by a monster tape player, drawn by the artist who did posters for "A Nightmare on Elm Street" -- is 80s-themed to the point of absurdity, but then, of course, that was always the point.

Though this is a band that has adamantly refused to grow away from its influences (to put it mildly), one feels that the members are maturing whether they want their music to or not. Frontman Philly Byrnes still is a dramatic vocalist, his voice veering madly from a hollow tenor to a harsh shout, but his falsetto screams are mostly missing from this album. The Wrong Stuff gives the album a good start, with the clean attack of the two guitarists combining with the drumming in a way that never gives the listener a break. Legend of Speed is another of my favorites (the riffs are run-of-the-mill, but it's hard for a song with lyrics starting with "Lightning quick, like a kick in the dick" not to be endearing). While Backwards Bible is a nice solid thrasher, Beverly Hills Robocop, a lyrical mashup of two 80s movie themes, seems gratuitous even for them. We Started the Fire and The Cannibals Are in the Streets -- All Flesh Must Be Eaten have such a knife edge on the riffs (and a few extra screams by Byrnes) that they can't help but be impressive, and Terrorscope, too, is a winner as the band outdoes themselves in precision on this one, tossing in a rendition of a section of "The Sabre Dance" during the solo for good measure.

The ones where the band starts to get old are the filler short tracks such as Shitting Yourself to Live and Smoke the Blow With Willem Dafoe, and the anti-skinhead Metal Idiot. They might have been fun in the first couple albums, but we've already been there and there's not much left to enjoy in them. That being said, they are the weak parts of what is at worst a very solid thrash album, and there are so many other songs on this one that are good listens that they don't really affect the album much.

Anyone who enjoyed the first three albums will like this one too, and anyone who hated Gama Bomb's quirky humor, endless video game/sci-fi/horror themes, and worship of past thrash greats will continue to hate them deeply. Like several past reviewers, however, I must give this album a thumbs-up. There are plenty of thrash revival bands out there, to the point that they are almost cookie-cutter, but The Terror Tapes continues Gama Bomb's successful strategy of turning out technically brilliant examples of a genre they obviously love, without ever expecting their audience to take them too seriously. For me, at any rate, their charm doesn't seem to have worn off yet.

Killing Songs :
The Wrong Stuff, Legend of Speed, Backwards Bible, Terrorscope, The Cannibals Are in the Streets -- All Flesh Must Be Eaten
Andy quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Gama Bomb that we have reviewed:
Gama Bomb - Untouchable Glory reviewed by Andy and quoted 88 / 100
Gama Bomb - Tales From The Grave In Space reviewed by Kyle and quoted 85 / 100
Gama Bomb - Citizen Brain reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
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