Gama Bomb - Citizen Brain
Earache Records
Thrash Metal
15 songs (38:21)
Release year: 2008
Earache Records
Reviewed by Goat

Hailing from Northern Ireland, Gama Bomb here make their Earache debut after having galvanised the UK underground with their brand of fun Thrash for the past six years. As hard as describing Thrash Metal is to the uninitiated, it’s even harder to tell those who have been listening since the eighties, and from the first old-school riffs that blast into your skull with Zombie Blood Nightmare there’s little that can be said that isn’t obvious. Mixing old Anthrax and Slayer with old Exodus, Gama Bomb clearly are trying to re-establish Thrash as the centrepiece of the Metal experience instead of the dodgy sideline that it became in the 90s and early 00s.

It’s indeed a pity that Thrash has become such an undead whore, seemingly existing only to be dug up and violated again and again by record labels sniffing out the latest fad, yet Gama Bomb manage to rise above the whole dirty issue simply because of their enthusiasm. It’s hard not to listen without recognising the love that these five lads have for their chosen genre, and unless you’re a particularly jaded type there’s much to like here. The guitarists are tight and little short of technical, Thrashing out riffs like there’s no tomorrow with plenty of Dragonforce-y solos (such as in Final Fight, complete with a tribute to Tetris!) establishing their credentials well. Most of the songs are around the two-minute mark, with only three going above three, and whilst the structure of the album helps make each of these a nifty little slice of Thrash, it’s hard not to wish for a long track to round out the album perfectly. As it is, it all feels rather like something from Municipal Waste – digging up the corpse of D.R.I and freely reassembling the parts to make something different yet essentially the same.

Having said that, there’s no doubt that this is a fun, enjoyable album for any Metalhead. The riffs are fast and furious, the solos frequent and skilful, the vocals frantic and with the odd scream to keep intensity levels at a max. Most people’s criticism of Citizen Brain will be that the songs are better heard live and that nearly forty minutes of this on disc is too much, but as someone that’s a little tired of Thrash Metal as an institution I found myself enjoying this a lot. There’s definitely more Thrash than Punk in the mix and with a collection of songs that are surprisingly diverse, there’s few that won’t enjoy this. Highlights come thick and fast, personal favourites including the forty-second OCP (‘You see, I’ve got this problem: I don’t like cops/and cops don’t like me – BITCHES LEAVE!’) In The Court Of General Zod’s Superman II-themed madness and Sentenced To Thrash, the extended track length used for extra riffs and solos, and plenty of ‘fuck’s to finish it off.

Fine, they’ll never produce anything that will match the old-school of Thrash for quality, but at times Gama Bomb come close, and even if they’re not the best Thrash Metal band to emerge from the new breed, they’re pretty damn close to the top of the list. Despite the unoriginality of it all (even I could recognise a riff in Bullet Belt, taken from ExodusPiranha!) Thrashers and Thrashettes should enjoy Citizen Brain, and everyone else will find much to like too.

Killing Songs :
Zombie Blood Nightmare, Evil Voices, Final Fight, Time Crime, OCP, Sentenced To Thrash, Return Of The Technodrome, In The Court Of General Zod
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Gama Bomb that we have reviewed:
Gama Bomb - Untouchable Glory reviewed by Andy and quoted 88 / 100
Gama Bomb - The Terror Tapes reviewed by Andy and quoted 84 / 100
Gama Bomb - Tales From The Grave In Space reviewed by Kyle and quoted 85 / 100
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