Zergoth - Psychological Defense
Thrash Metal
11 songs (40 minutes)
Release year: 2011
Reviewed by Jake
Surprise of the month

With notable exceptions like the genre-bending Skeletonwitch, post-revival thrash metal has mostly taken the form of a modernized approach to the fast-and-groovy brutal thrash popular in America and Germany in the mid-to-late 80s, eschewing the more melodic mutations of the thrash style. With their incredibly fun first full-length, Psychological Defense, American newcomers Zergoth have done a lot to bring melody back into the fold of modern thrash, though the overall impact is still riffy and violent. Late-80s speed metal (think early Helloween) asserts itself as a strong influence, leading to a fresh and surprisingly dynamic take on the drink-and-puke skater punk aesthetic of Bay Area thrash that's exciting and satisfying.

The album's very first moments will bring smiles to the faces of fans of 80s metal; the first riff of opener and immediate highlight Unlikely Force is a simple but fast hammer-on-pull-off number that could have been on Thundersteel. The song sets the pace for the album by continuing that riff over a thrash beat before introducing shout-screamed vocals that sound like Ihsahn trying to hold back vomit (but will, surprisingly, break out into moments of melody throughout the album without dropping the scratchy tone). A typically excellent guitar solo rounds out the sound, and having laid out their pallet of techniques on the first song, the band set about recombining its various elements in new ways to create fresh and distinct tracks like the weirdly emotional Revengeance or the morphing, Testament-like instrumental Wakala. Throughout, they break up their thrashing and pounding with guitar harmonies and melodic breaks give the album a diverse emotional flow, while the 80s tempos ensure that the music doesn't lose momentum (even on the truly bizarre softy The Drive, which pretty much defies description). The result is an album that recalls the oldies but asserts its originality and the compositional talent of its members anew on each track.

The two members of Zergoth recorded their parts a great distance away from each other and combined them online without meeting in person, but you'd never know it--Psychological Defense sounds like five drunk and talented guys dicking around in a garage and almost accidentally creating some excellent material. In other words, it's exactly what a thrash metal debut should be, and it promises excellent work from Zergoth down the line.

Killing Songs :
Unlikely Force, Revengeance, Wakala, Death Uniform
Jake quoted 88 / 100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:50 am
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