Battery – Armed With Rage (Punishment 18)Tuesday, 4th February 2014
Their name sake coming from one of the best opening thrash tracks ever in Metallica’s back catalog, Danish quintet Battery formed in 2008 and released a few demo tapes and their Mental Pollution EP (in actually cassette format) prior to their debut full-length, Armed with Rage. While many new generation acts appear to be infusing a broad spectrum of punk and hardcore influences into the thrash genre, Battery stick to old, tried and true principles: emphasizing a more fierce, underground flavor to the proceedings.
Armed With Rage contains 10 songs that would make fans of Vio-lence, Slayer, Xentrix, and early Canadian speed metal like Exciter and Razor beam with envy. Guitarists Jeppe Campradt and Jökull Johannesson wheel and deal the riffs faster than the best card dealers in Vegas, heads down picking with occasional mid-tempo variance to set up the next power bomb. Bassist Jannick Nielsen and drummer Andreas Joen also gain kudos for instrumental dexterity and solid mechanics – check out the neck shattering “Hostile by Content” or Slayer-esque “Pyramids of Decept” as two Battery highlights.
Chris Steel handles the gruff and hectic larynx duties much like a champion UFC fighter. He has a lower rasp when he roars through verses within “Halo of Hypocrisy” and the title track, but then the maniacal screams evoke Stace ‘Sheepdog’ McLaren meets a more restrained Sean Killian. The production has this beefy, lower outlook – I especially enjoy the crackle of the cymbal hits, sinister snare snap, and the overall ferocity that makes you sweat throughout this 39 minute roller coaster ride.
Add in a healthy shot of gang-infused background vocals and realize that Battery crush in more of a mid-1980’s North American thrash sense, without the silly mosh breakdowns or commercial ballad threat within a thousand miles. Rear back and fire away at will, Armed With Rage engages with the fundamentals that should appease all ardent headbangers.