Kayser – Read Your Enemy (Listenable)

Sunday, 9th February 2014
Rating: 8/10

Discussion regarding Sweden’s Kayser should begin with the song “Evolution,” which appears on the band’s most recent studio album, 2006’s Frame the World…Hang It On the Wall. A blunt groove rocker if there ever was one, not only does the song have an intoxicating verse, but the indomitable vocals of Spice, which are the focal point, and rightfully so – the dude can sing his ass off. Granted, one song does not a career make, yet “Evolution” is too good of a rocker to not mention. (And we’ll have to query the band as to why it took so long for a follow-up.)

Nearly eight years after the fact, Kayser return with Read Your Enemy, their first for France’s Listenable Records. Thrash, its various mutations, is the core of the band’s sound. Even if there’s not a proliferation of d-beat(ing) going on, the riffs and arrangements cross into less extreme Euro thrash territory. Maybe like a less feral Hatesphere, but with a different-styled singer. Alas, Spice (who was the first vocalist for Michael Amott’s Spiritual Beggars) remains an enthralling entity. Possessing something along the lines of a melodic Araya bark (such a thing does exist), Spice can usually carry any song to the finish line, and he does here, specifically the coarse “I’ll Deny You,” pounding title track, and crunchy “He Knows Your Secrets.”

This type of immediate, vocal-dominated thrash/groove metal is in short supply, thus necessitating the existence of a band like Kayser. ‘Tis a shame they’re not bigger, but Read Your Enemy is a winner, if only to experience the wily Euro cackle of Spice, who should be considered one of thrash’s best singers.

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