Anger as Art - Ad Mortem Festinamus
Old School Metal Records
Thrash Metal
11 songs (47' 16")
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Andy

It's kind of a surprise to me that Anger as Art's albums have not been remarked on more, considering the 80s thrash authenticity the band brings to the table -- most of its members are former Abattoir members, and its frontman, Steve Gaines, is the original vocalist from their 1985 LP --, but perhaps that's too obscure a link for today's thrashers. Ad Mortem Festinamus, their latest offering, is no 80s thrash throwback, though, but a very modern-sounding record that avoids sacrificing any of the speed and filthiness of the members' past.

What I found myself comparing Ad Mortem Festinamus to was Hatriot's Dawn of the New Centurian. It doesn't have the overwhelming guitar assault which that album was able to summon, but does provide that air of 80s-metal-brought-into-the-present with its ferociously jabbing riffs and chaotic soloing, which call to mind what one could find on the early albums of SF thrash greats. The speed of Unknowing, Undead is music to the ears, especially when Gaines and fellow guitarist Danny Oliverio break out the harmonized solos, but Gaines' voice isn't used to the maximum on most songs, where he crosses a growl with a tightly-constrained squeal to match the disciplined guitar work.

Except for one. Praise of the Firehead, which is different enough to sound like it was accidentally put on this one, lets Gaines show what he can do with a slower, more rock-oriented metal song on the lines of something Iron Maiden might produce. As it so happens, his vocals are superb, a perfect fit for the music, and if this is a potential new direction for the band's sound, it's one I'd love to hear more of. The final track, Dim Carcosa, is like a cross between Praise of the Firehead and the preceding thrash tracks. I'm not much of a fan of the lyrics on that one, but the band performs the thrash with an epic sound that takes plenty of time to drive the riffs home and wring the maximum wailing out of the lead solos.

Ad Mortem Festinamus makes for respectable modern thrash with some memorable songs and a break from pure thrash in at least one instance. Thrash is often rather a conservative genre, but Anger as Art seems to be striking a nice balance between trying a few new things and appealing to listeners who expect the 80s sound to stay.

Killing Songs :
Unknowing, Undead, Praise of the Firehead
Andy quoted 75 / 100
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