If ever you needed proof that the future of thrash metal is safe in the hands of the younger generation of bands seeking to re-invigorate the genre, then this third album from madcap Finns Lost Society is it.
The young quartet first emerged into the collective metal conscience with their debut, the suitably anarchically entitled ‘Fast Loud Death’ – a remarkably accomplished offering considering it was released while its four protagonists were still in their teens. Less than a year later, they pummelled reviewers and fans alike into submission with their follow up, the wonderfully loopy ‘Terror Hungry’, which was as damn fine an exemplar of don’t-give-a-fuck old-fashioned thrash as you were likely to come across at the time – or, indeed, are likely to since… until now!
‘Braindead’ very much picks up where the Helsinki mob left off a little under two years, but also clearly demonstrates their growing maturity, both as musicians and songwriters. Their stall is set out from the debut single, ‘I Am The Antidote’, with its huge chugging riff, which leads first into a winding melody and then Samy Elbanna’s snapping, snarling vocal. Its mean and broody, building slowly and inexorably, turning and twisting back on itself and show a great sense of the use of atmospherics.
‘Riot’ is the first real neck-snapper, starting off almost in the vein of Motorhead’s ‘The Game’ before introducing elements of hardcore and nu metal to its thick riff and hypnotic beat. Eblanna more raps and screams his lyrics rather than singing them, but this helps to add to the feeling that this will be a real pit opener when the band take it on the road later this month. ‘Mad Torture’ gives a passing nod to Anthrax, with its staccato riff, tumbling melody and furious pace, while ‘Hollow Eyes’ sees them ease off the pedal a tad, building a dense, layered sound around another simply effective riff, which helps to build a sense of lurking menace, before developing into a lengthy (and maybe perhaps slightly overlong) double guitar workout in its second half – but, again, I can see how this would work well live, and maybe the band had one eye on that environment when recording.
‘Rage Me Up’ is a positively rabid slice of out-and-out thrash, again infused with elements of nu metal, especially in the vocal department, and has a loose feel to it which adds to its energy and excitement. ‘Hangover Actovator’ keeps up the unrelenting pace of the album’s third quarter, and certainly could live up its title the way it leaves your brain rattling around the inside of your cranium with its irresistable invitation to indulge in some serious ‘banging, be it ’round your bedroom or the pit at one of their forthcoming live shows (see below).
‘Only (My) Death Is Certain’ sees them easing the pace back again; musically, it possesses a ‘Master Of Puppets’ era Metallica vibe, from the slowly building atmospheric intro to the dark, chugging main riff and the underpinning rolling base line and precise, snapping percussive support. It also uses vocal harmonies to good effect, adding a dense melody to Eblanna’s throat shredding vocal. The rather weirdly titled closer ‘P.S.T88’ is another nod over their collective shoulders to the mid- to late-Eighties crossover era, but it’s also one of the more straightforward tracks and an acidic end to this fine, in places challenging, opus.
‘Braindead’ is a massive step forward for Lost Society. It may confuse, and indeed annoy, some fans (as it already has done in some social media forums) for its stepping away from the basic heads-down-see-you-at-the-end thrash style of their first two albums, and its divergence into, and incorporation of, different and diverse sub-genres. But, then, that’s what progression is all about. The band are very conscious of the origins of thrash, but also of the way in which it has always experimented and sought to evolve and re-invent itself as a genre. They may not manage this single-handedly, but they certainly will be an essential element of the new generation of thrashers seeking to attain this goal and bring this style of music to a newer audience.
I Am The Antidote / Riot / Mad Torture / Hollow Eyes / Rage Me Up / Hangover Activator / Only (My) Death Is Certain / P.S.T.88
Recommended listening: I Am The Antidote / Rage Me Up
‘Braindead’ is released via Nuclear Blast on Friday (12 February).
Lost Society support Exodus on their forthcoming European tour, which hits the UK and Ireland on the following dates:
25 February – Birmingham, Asylum
26 February – Newcastle, Riverside
27 February – Aberdeen, The Tunnels
28 February – Glasgow, The Cathouse
29 February – Belfast, Limelight
1 March – Dublin, Button Factory
2 March – Liverpool, O2 Academy
3 March – York, Fibbers
4 March – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
5 March – London, Underworld
6 March – Brighton, The Haunt
8 March – Southampton – Talking Heads
9 March – Bristol, The Fleece