Onslaught - Generation Antichrist
AFM Records
Thrash Metal
9 songs (37:54)
Release year: 2020
Onslaught, AFM Records
Reviewed by Ben

Damn man, I got Onslaught confused with two other fairly long running traditional thrashy bands, namely Overlorde (the name) and Paradox (the style). Basically, due to my enjoyment of the aroma of leaded gasoline, I thought these guys were Overlorde, who released an album in the eighties then "came back" at the turn of the century with some album about a "Snow Lord Monster," but now they play speed thrash ala Paradox. Funnily enough, many of these traits can still be ascribed to who we're actually talking about here and that's Onslaught. They (Onslaught) hail from England and in the eighties were apparently very much a hardcore punk type of band and guess what? They did disband until reuniting around 2004. Since then they have adopted a speed thrash style and that's exactly what is presented here on Generation Antichrist.

Seeing as how I am a fan of literally all three elements that make up this band, there's quite a bit to enjoy. For one, most of the songs are fast and don't let up, there's really cool lead guitar, vocals are pure snarling, scornful, acerbic rage, and the song structures are decently varied. I really must point out the strength of the vocals because I'm about to take a huge shit on the drums. But anyway, the guy that did this album, David Garnett, is a new member and since I have no knowledge of the band's past, he comes to me with fresh ears. For one, he has a kind of compelling screech to his vocal tone. He's like a mix between the singer from Impaled Nazarene (Mika Luttinen) with that guy from the nineties era Razor, Bob Reid. But British. Also, his vocals don't sound too messed with. Since he has such a flavorful bark, shifting things around in a DAW would ruin it quickly. This is in complete contrast to the drums though. My major and only real complaint is that the kick drums are incredibly, uhhh, "digitally assisted." They sound so processed and pushed way up front that it's actually distracting. To be honest, it's so distracting that it also makes the rhythm guitar tone sound noticeably like the same presets that everyone uses. I could be wrong however, because as noted earlier, the lead guitars are really great and I have no qualms with their "tone" in any way. I mean, I get why these things sound the way they do. Let's be real here, I highly doubt there was a huge budget for this release so Onslaught does what any band in their position would do and they try to sound the best they can without breaking the bank. It's just that I'm basically an old curmudgeon at this point and have listened to too many albums made a certain way and well, my preferences are pretty cemented. However, in terms of songwriting and performance there aren't any complaints.

The very first track is a little conundrum of sorts. Obviously, it is an introductory type of song, it's only two minutes. Rise To Power begins with someone dialing in an old radio which immediately brings to mind Starlight from Helloween and Fire At Will by Persuader as well as filling the pants with eighties speed metal sensibilities. Despite treading this familiar ground though, Rise To Power is actually a decently realized song which even includes a couple vocal lines despite its short run time. The next couple of tracks are fastly energetic and quite vitriolic. Strike Fast Strike Hard (Cobra Kai Never Dies!... I added the last part in the title) is immediate in its intentions. Literally a screaming and shouting cry of rebellious defiance, this has pure metal energy seeping through the pores. It's just the goddamn kick drum is so annoying and distracting. Bow Down To The Clowns is a pretty bleak societal take on today's happenings. It manages to paint a desolate picture of civil unrest without being overtly political. Generation Antichrist and Religiousuicide are the two most vehemently Anti Christian songs on here. While I'm definitely no fan of the church and do think pentagrams and shit look cool, there just comes across a bit of a try hard vibe, especially in Religiousuicide with lines like "Religion takes it up the ass." There's plenty of things that go on with the abuse of power in the church that tackling those issues would be a better way to dissuade people from their next conversion. I also really like Addicted To The Smell Of Death but when I listen to it, I change the title to Addicted To The Smell Of Dank. This one shows off the band's punk past with loud and ringing power chord driven verses and then frantic chord sliding leading up to a shouty and loud chorus. Capping off the album is a re-recording of A Perfect Day To Die. I know nothing about the original version, but based on this fresh listen this is again, a huge bro nod to their punk past. The bass tone alone shouts old school hardcore.

Onslaught and their Generation Antichrist album serves up an almost ideally structured thrash album full of energy and well crafted songs. I just personally really don't like the production styles used but that's again, my own thing. That this album clocks in at just under forty minutes, has no ballads, and really doesn't let up in intensity is pretty damn cool. Maybe this is an advent of the streaming age. Instead of feeling like they're obligated to fill out an eighty minute cd, bands can now push out thirty, forty minute albums for streaming. Generation Antichrist fills an almost forty minute hole in the day with some quality and energetic thrash.

Killing Songs :
Strike Fast Strike Hard, Addicted To The Smell Of Death, All Seeing Eye, Bow Down To The Clowns
Ben quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Onslaught that we have reviewed:
Onslaught - VI reviewed by Andy and quoted 75 / 100
Onslaught - Live Damnation reviewed by Thomas and quoted no quote
Onslaught - Killing Peace reviewed by Goat and quoted 72 / 100
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