Game Over – Claiming Supremacy (Scarlet Records)

Friday, 17th November 2017
Rating: 8/10

Aiming to conquer the galaxy and play louder/faster than everyone else (thought the latter was a Motörhead mantra?), Italian thrashers Game Over waste no time capitalizing on recent tour runs across mainland Europe and stateside, issuing their fourth album Claiming Supremacy and a follow up to the Blessed Are the Heretics EP from the spring this year. Nothing wrong at all to strike while the iron’s hot, especially when sustaining momentum against the plethora of releases vying for consumer attention. What we have here are ten more tracks that blend together the energy of Bay Area/UK thrash with raspy rapid-fire vocals, gang background supplementation, and the occasional progressive foray to prove Game Over want to establish an original presence in a fertile thrash landscape.

After the “Onward to Blackness” instrumental intro that sets up the record with quieter, spacious ambiance into a heavier metal march, “Two Steps in the Shadows” hangs the crunchy riffs and speedy tempo/lead breaks on high – featuring cool back and forth gang/regular vocal switch ups a la Anthrax. As an axe team, Alessandro Sansone and Luca Zironi fill the landscape with a bevy of mid-tempo tricks and slides/whammy bar antics against the faster picking and galloping nature to the proceedings, keeping ears on alert for key hooks to make “Last Before the End” and “Broken Trails” standouts because of this attention to point/counterpoint interplay beyond the dual rhythms. Bassist/vocalist Renato Chiccoli adds his low-end prowess and punishing nature for “Lysander”, underscoring the importance of this instrument to the punch and pop of thrash. There’s even a bit of a nod to another Italian veteran band Extrema with some of the heavier funk-aspects in the early sequences of “My Private Nightmare”. If there’s one little twist in the wind, it’s Renato’s vocals sitting below the guitars and drums through this record – unsure of whether this was by design or default (Joel Grind mixed and mastered this after all), but it’s something to be aware of as you take the album in.

Overall, Game Over know what they do best – and continue to strive for a catchy thrash sound that involves the audience as often as possible through those gang choruses and simplified melodic musical hooks. If you can’t get enough of that thrash thing in under 40 minutes, and prefer a raspy/gritty main vocalist to top things off, Claiming Supremacy won’t disappoint your expectations.

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