Accuser – The Mastery (Metal Blade)Thursday, 25th January 2018
An 80’s thrash proponent on their first go around for six full-lengths on various, smaller European labels, Accuser broke up in 1996 only to resurrect in 2008 with a stronger, wider array of influences. Garnering the attention of Metal Blade who released 2016’s The Forlorn Divide, it’s natural that they’ve gained a stronger arm of promotional push that aids in risk taking measures for gun shy newbies looking for another band to champion. The Mastery as the eleventh studio record continues the quartet’s teeter-totter bouncing between classic thrash riffs and tempos with a slight tip of the cap to modern/groove elements to diversify the aural landscape present in these tracks.
Right out the gate rhythm guitarist Frank Thorns for opener “Mission: Missile” exudes a bit of that old Max Cavalera delay roar vocally during the chorus, something that put the band at the cream of the crop during the Beneath the Remains album period. Riff-wise you’ll hear a mix of later 80’s Bay Area style interplay against normal Teutonic finesse – it’s clear when checking into many of the tastier, melodic sections of “Solace in Sorrow” and “Ruthless” that Forbidden, Exodus, and Destruction are three bands that factor into the Accuser formula, while injecting a bit of that later day mid-tempo groove factor with tempo switch ups in the verses or transitions that elevate the slam antics. Dennis Rybakowski wields a mighty lead axe attack, even in slower sweeps within “Time for Silence” – while ripping out shredding arpeggios in Malmsteen-esque fashion along with proper note-ending bends during “Into the Black”.
Accuser take a straightforward approach to the tempos, lay on some thick rhythm guitars that galvanize the troops, and engage in equal forcefulness as far as the semi-roar, semi-melodic vocal presentation. The almost seven-minute title cut that closes the record contains some sick, closing rhythms that veer into Slayer / South of Heaven territory – if put into a little bit of that Arch Enemy aggression and sophistication twist. In the end, The Mastery should meet with modest appeal to those who want a bit more meat and musicianship behind a groovy thrash platform.