SEPTEMBER 25th 2013
ONSLAUGHT: VI

Review by Anka

Onslaught’s 6th album simply called “VI” will give all thrash gods’ new releases a run for their money. For those who are familiar with Onslaught’s work, this album is a great continuation of the most recent albums, perhaps a bit heavier and with a fresh feel, more in line with other contemporary thrash releases. For those who have no idea who Onslaught is, I am begging you, please check out their albums: start with the new ones to regain some faith in today’s “thrash revival” and then continue to the old ones and see what you missed when you were stubbornly listening only to Slayer songs and believed nothing else was worthy of your attention.

Like I mentioned before, “VI” pretty much continues the line of “Sounds of Violence” from 2011 but pushes things further to an even heavier, darker dimension. It’s more aggressive, it has a crushing sound and added weight. It feels like the overall pace is even faster than on the previous albums. There’s always something like an “extra kick” in there to make it sound like a veritable thrash marathon. From track to track, it flows nicely and effortlessly, sometimes on the “safer” side but also with great moments that will blow your mind. Sy Keeler’s voice is in great shape, as always versatile and powerful, on the lower range here maybe more than usual. There seems to be a recurrent oriental-style motif throughout that actually fits in very well, without any awkwardness. This very motif on the “Children of the Sand” track even reminded me of Clawfinger’s song “Two Sides”, a long forgotten name, but it’s funny how musical memory works…

The album builds up in galloping doses of insane riffing from the duo Nige Rockett – Andy Rosser Davies, backed by rampant drumming – and speaking of that, “Chaos is King” and “Fuel For My Fire” are two favorites of mine on this album, I just can’t get enough of them. Another killer track, “66'Fucking’6” starts off with a creepy music-box melody then contrasts with crunchy heaviness that later builds into an anthem-quality chorus. One of my other favorite tracks is “Cruci-Fiction”, maybe it is one of the rather formulaic songs, but it still is absolutely enjoyable - with chunky aggressive riffing then a really nice, fast and mind-twirling solo that ends in a somewhat oriental twist. I love these little diversions here and there, songwriting-wise Onslaught doesn’t disappoint. Towards the end, the album develops at a thunderous pace to say the least, it's all like a hurricane sweeping your brains. Once the silence settles in, you’ll miss these songs like an addict.

If I had to mention something that’s missing, I would say “VI” doesn’t have as many melodic hooks as you might be used to hearing on previous albums. I don’t consider this a bad thing. It's a fresh perspective, call it a shift of focus if you want, but there’s growth in a band that was resurrected to its full potential a few years ago. There is still good Onslaught to be heard, and it’s not music for the weak.

I feel Onslaught is in a good phase right now and this time it will hopefully last: with a polished, professional sound, with songs that raise the bar and make thrash one of the most interesting genres in heavy metal nowadays.