Aggression – Frozen Aggressors (Massacre Records)

Wednesday, 29th November 2023
Rating: 8 / 10

Ardent consumers of the 80’s underground scene may remember this Canadian act Aggression – who released a series of demos from 1985-86 leading to domestic label Banzai Records releasing the debut album The Full Treatment in 1987. Going by Aggression A.D. for a little while, they’ve had periods of down time followed by new albums – very active as of late as Frozen Aggressors is the group’s sixth studio album and fourth over the last eight years. Content to churn out a brand of thrash that has all the spunk, spirit, and substance that reverts to a classic montage of punk, crossover, and speed/NWOBHM influences, most will run ragged drenched in sweat to the eight songs on display.

Topics feed into archetype political/religious/social struggles, injustices, or oppression of the common man – “Song #666” an illustration of wars that can happen due to religious intolerance all for manipulative power and political gain, while “Satanic Cult Gangbang” leaves very little to the imagination in its carnal ritualistic content. Musically the group take influences from Venom, Slayer, and Destruction next to aspects of S.O.D. or even Pennywise – although there are times where some sophisticated riffs plus stellar transitions seep into the mix a la early Bay Area thrash for “Crib of Thorns”. As guitarists Dave Watson and Denis Barthe lay down some serious thick rhythms beyond their adept lead break antics – often injecting the main songs with this relentless raw purity that comes close to going off the rails in spots (check out the ending sequence of “Holidays in Sodom”). When the quartet chooses to be more epic and grandiose in an arrangement, you get the additional narrative / sound effect sequences that make the 8:29 “Hyperspectral Winter Incursions” a personal favorite – the acoustic opening very atmospheric, setting the stage for a haunting epic similar to classic Mercyful Fate or Sacrifice, the diversity in tempos as well as melodic touches dynamically appealing (bassist Kyle Hagen serving up tasty bottom end heroics that fuel more deeper engagement).

Prototypical cover art aside, Frozen Aggressors is a nostalgic trip back into the early days of thrash – galloping riffs, savage vocals, scathing lyrical outlook, and musicians who still have passion for the movement. Aggression proves that acts from the Great White North still have relevance and creative fuel left for the masses to appreciate.

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