Dead Shape Figure – The Grand Karoshi (Season of Mist Records)

Friday, 15th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Recalling a time when Hatesphere was actually writing melodic, knife-in-the-throat thrash (i.e. Bloodred Hatred), Finland’s Dead Shape Figure eschew the trappings of new/old-school thrash for the razor-sharp thrash approach resembling that of a less streamlined Carnal Forge and the band we first mentioned, Hatesphere.

Riffs, riffs, and riffs abound here, and they’re mostly good ones – the ones that take Euro metal and add an American sensibility that allows for a good balance to be struck. The Grand Karoshi is a quick study – like most good thrash – and it gets in and gets out pretty quickly, as the raging “Lesser the Man” parlays some cool melodic twists, as does “Bend the Weak,” where a deadly opening sequence literally paints the floor with all of these retro thrash pansies.

If there was a knock towards Dead Shape Figure and The Grand Karoshi, it’s that on the variety side of things, they’re a bit lacking, which is understandable given the relative notion that you have to have tunnel vision in order to play thrash. Still, the shout-alongs during “Remington Lucifer” are stellar (are they referring to the shaver?) and “Blithering Icon” is the type of high-velocity number that propelled early Darkane into the thick of the underground, so there’s plenty to go around.

If you want to look at this way, thrash is going to keep these two sides running: the retro side, which will hopefully burn out in the coming year and this side, the frenetic, slightly melodic and much more exciting brand. Dead Shape Figure would be best advised to stay on the route of the latter and continue to unleash frenzied thrash as this. Good stuff.

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