Seax – Speed Metal Mania (Self-Released)

Sunday, 16th October 2016
Rating: 9.5/10

Living for traditional heavy metal, Worcester, MA act Seax has been slugging their way through the underground since 2009 – honing in on a lot of the early Combat, Noise, and Metal Blade catalog 80’s artists as a template for 2012’s High on Metal and the 2014 follow up To the Grave. Regaining Carmine Blades on vocals plus a new bassist in Mike Bones, the third studio album Speed Metal Mania conveys easily what the quintet is all about – tearing off your heads and throwing riffs at maximum velocity, relentless in sort of a punk/metal vortex.

Guitars weave the rhythmic foundation as blitzkrieg lead parts often flash in and out to heighten the intensity of a particular arrangement – check out “Forged by Metal” for instance and behold the classic Accept meets Agent Steel-oriented action, as Hel and Eli Firicano mesmerize through lick tradeoffs and doubled up searing harmonies. A lot of the old pissed off punk spirit and attitude comes off during the churning guitar and vocal combinations (back and forth action between background gang work and Carmine’s normal helium shriek oriented antics), making “Leather and Spikes” admirable for those into Gang Green as well as Exciter. Drummer Derek Jay knows how to stay in a comfortable, up beat pocket, slamming the snare/kick drums for all their worth on highlight efforts like “Fall to the Hammer” and “Possessed by the Axe”.

Two particular areas seem to have improved immensely to push Seax above and beyond their previous discography. Carmine as a vocalist has learned to adapt more of his mid-range sneer to an already high pitch scream propulsion (think Agent Steel and Raven here), giving the record more depth and versatility – making “Nuclear Overdose” and “Evil Mistress” highly enjoyable. As far as the songwriting, there seems to be an added effort to look at the smaller details to enhance long term appreciation – be it a particular narrative addition, complementary background vocals, or flashy guitar solos that may be as speedy but always contain a boatload of melody – ensuring the ten tracks contain anthem staying power.

Sing-a-long moments abound – a true sign that Seax is delivering the goods. Speed Metal Mania will be one bubbling about from the underground and hitting the hearts of most speed, traditional, classic, and crossover metal followers – it’s that strong, folks. The world will soon revel in what New England metal aficionados already have come to know about this tremendous band.

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