Noisem – Agony Defined (A389)

Thursday, 20th June 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Reign in Blood was so short that you could put the entire running order on both sides of a cassette. It’s one of the nostalgic factors behind a release than many feel to be thrash’s and Slayer’s finest hour. (Seasons in the Abyss is better). Therefore, anytime a release of similar shortness comes anyone’s way, it garners the usual barrage of connotations towards said Slayer album. It’s the easy way out when trying to pin down new bands and their respective bodies of work, and while Noisem’s Agony Defined is a not-very robust 24 minutes, it’s hardly formatted to latch onto the teat of metal’s most ripped-off album as one would initially think.

Formerly known as Necropsy (Noisem is cooler sounding), this Baltimore gang has a pulse on visceral American thrash that comes across a bit more sincere than the faux high-tops thrash gang. It boils down to the production values, which are suitably un-80’s, thus engaging in a raw, hardcore-like mode that is ugly enough to run with the punk and true hardcore dudes. The tempo is fast, and fast all the time, and while the lead guitar spew on “Voices in the Morgue” is vintage, the gang vocals on “Rotten Remains” are a smart separator. Anything to stay away from throwback thrash, really.

Since Noisem appears to have more to say about the world instead of the apocalypse, looking for beer, and wearing denim, the abrasive nature of Agony Defined takes on a confrontational tone in the current thrash landscape. These dudes are young, so the prospects of doing for thrash what Black Breath and Nails are doing for Ameri-Swede d-beat death metal is certainly a viable proposition.

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