Game Over – Crimes Against Humanity (Scarlet Records)

Tuesday, 5th April 2016
Rating: 8/10

At a critical juncture in the band’s career, Crimes Against Humanity could be ‘game over’ literally for this Italian thrash act. Third albums usually launch musicians into a steady, faithful followings – while for others, it can be break up city due to lack of acceptance, personal (or personnel) differences, or the dreaded fiscal struggles to maintain a livelihood. Obvious affinity for Bay Area and UK thrash influences prevalent on their first two full-lengths, it’s time for the quartet to advance into fresher nuances to establish their own niche.

Gallop-fueled, gang oriented thrash still reigns supreme in Game Over world – a sound where the axes blaze as well as throw down some meaty and thick riffs. Bassist Renato Chiccoli also plays an important role in his low, pumping process – often keeping up with six-stringers Alessandro Sansone and Luca Zironi in the fast switches and heavy hitting parts. Metallica circa Kill ‘Em All comes to mind on first single/video “Neon Maniacs”, although drummer Anthony Dantone’s quicker transitions from straight groove to all out up beat thrash puts the elder Ulrich out to pasture.

A spacious, almost progressive element comes into play on the 6:35 “Astral Matter” where the lead work and main riffs are very melodic, and it’s nice to hear the band in this particular song be a little more adventurous as far as building tension and moving up and down the tempo register. The Middle-Eastern vibe and subject matter for “Gates of Ishtar” works as well for differentiation, as the mid-tempo transition allows for more ‘guitar hero’ oriented leads and a mood maneuver that should promote audience chants and proper energy transference when performed live. And the longer instrumental sections during the 7:39 title cut proves Game Over are not slouches when it comes to musicianship and tight part to part construction.

The purple and black color scheme as well as the mirror for the cover capture a proper expansive nature to this record. Bassist Renato won’t win many points for his rougher, Italian accented Hetfield-esque sneers in the vocal department – but the band should be proud for dynamically expanding their sound on Crimes Against Humanity while keeping a lot of their Metallica, Death Angel, and Evile-oriented aspects at the core.

Moving in the right direction, gentlemen, and looking forward to where things go from here.

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