“Thrash music is meant to be corrosive. When done right, it’s so acidic it could melt steel. Pasadena Napalm Division unleashes pure old school thrash fury on its self-titled debut for minus HEAD Records. The Texas group counts genre vets Kurt Brecht [vocals] of the legendary D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles), Greg Martin [guitar], Scott Sevall [guitar], and Ronnie Guyote [drums] of Dead Horse, and Bubba [bass] among its ranks.” – Pasadena Napalm Division Press Release
Yep, sometimes bands can build you up for a release that you then expect so much from but it then fails to deliver. This is what I was setting myself up for after reading the above pitch from PND’s press release. Thankfully though, and really I shouldn’t have been surprised given their pedigree, the album delivers in spades.
It’s a waspish, angry, drunken rabble of a band throwing themselves around with an evil undercurrent. This takes you back to early days of thrash infancy. There’s an aggressively punkish streak running through the whole album. There’s raw power and energy here by the bucketload and the album is unsurprisingly reminiscent of DRI thanks in no small part to Brecht’s vocals and style that still stand out to this day.
PND are indeed a law unto themselves and like to mix things up in each track. You’ll find powerfully evil riffs in opener and single 100 Beers with a Zombie, blast beats and bass leads in the likes of Dreamland and Cemetery Mass, no nonsense acerbic wit and attack with Failure, yep, they pretty much keep you on your toes from track to track. What is also very important to state here too is that PND bring something to the table I haven’t heard for a long time. This is truly the anarchic side to thrash that for many years saw it as the unruly little brother of the metal scene.
Tony Foresta of Municiple Waste even gets the chance to elbow his way in with the superb Murder the Bearded Lady Killer that immediately makes me think of Nuclear Assault and is a definite highlight of the album. All of a Sudden Dead hits the right spots too, sounding like the bastard lovechild of the Offspring meeting Slayer with a funky groove chucked in for good measure. Oh, and I have to mention the superb approach to Spell it Out which does exactly as the song title suggests. It’s quirky, it’s humorous, it’s unique.
It’s great to hear the flipside of thrash that PND show on this album after recent speed-freak releases from guys like Gama Bomb and Lost Society. Pasadena Napalm Division are a huge reminder not just of thrash’s history and upbringing but also what it can still bring to the table in spades. It is indeed a hugely different animal from any other thrash offering out there at the moment and worthy of your attention.
Pasadena Napalm Division’s self-titled debut album is available through Minus Head Records now with a limited edition vinyl due to be released on Dry Heave Records in late June on 180gram green transparent vinyl with yellow splatter.
Pasadena Napalm Division are:
Kurt Brecht – Vocals
Greg Martin – Guitar
Scott Sevall – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Bubba – Bass/Backing Vocals
Ronnie Guyote – Drums
1. 100 Beers With A Zombie
2. Bleached Blonde Despair
3. Cemetery Mass
4. Don’t Care
7. My Own Little God
8. Murder The Bearded Lady Killer
9. Non Ti Amo
10. All Of A Sudden Dead
11. Spell It Out
12. Terror Cell
13. Speaking In Tongues