Eugenic Death – Crimes Against Humanity (Heaven and Hell Records)

Wednesday, 27th March 2013
Rating: 6.5/10

Long considered as the weak part of thrash, the vocals are wisely made an afterthought amidst the style’s main components of angular riffing, moshable sections, and d-beat stints. There are of course, exceptions to this, most notably Death Angel’s Mark Osegueda, Kreator’s Mille Petrozza, and if we want to get cute, Anthrax’s Joey Belladonna. Yet trying to nominate an entire list of bonafide thrash “singers” is a seismic task, one that few, if any could accomplish. Suffice it to say, there won’t be any nominations of this kind for North Carolina’s Eugenic Death.

On their Crimes Against Humanity debut, the quartet unleash a grizzly brand of American-on-European thrash, one that recalls rather instantly, the bristling action of classic Onslaught. While Eugenic Death may not bore the same type of complexity as the lads in Onslaught, they’re adept at pushing the pace for some tried-and-true thrash action, as heard on the opening title track which (wisely) opts for a few minutes worth of all-out thrashing without vocals.

It’s no surprise that vocalist Keith Davis is the big problem here. Limited to a monosyllable grunt, Davis tries his hardest to burrow in on the proceedings, yet has a propensity to stick out more than he should. And since a thrash vocalist’s job is normally to stay out of the way, it poses some serious issues on otherwise quality jaunts like “Indicative Deity” and “Plagued By Ignorance,” which rages like Spreading the Disease-era Anthrax.

We’ve probably uttered this at least three dozen times on this site, but the deck is stacked against any modern retro thrash band. And since the scene is so flooded, any glaring flaws will probably be a huge, if not career-threatening detriment. It’s rather obvious the malady Eugenic Death suffers from, and for once, it’s not restricted solely to the goofy and cartoonish album cover and presentation…

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