Gama Bomb – BATS (Prosthetic Records)

Monday, 6th November 2023
Rating: 9 / 10

Resolute in the approach of injecting thrash with diverse punk, traditional, and outside the box influences time after time, Irish act Gama Bomb always guarantee an energetic appeal record to record. The same holds true for this eighth studio album BATS – entirely self-produced with remote recording in place, the pandemic not holding back the process as Vader drummer James Stewart did his studio work in Poland while the rest of the band split duties between Ireland and England. Over the course of the eleven tracks you’ll get the galvanized speed, bash and gallop nature that have always been a staple in the sound – but also injecting some interesting Egyptian hip hop or saxophone/funky angles on specific songs that capture the group’s affinity for pioneers in different genres.

The classical tinges appear in spots of certain guitar lines/riffs for “Living Dead in Beverly Hills” or the emotive lead break for the follow-up “Rusted Gold” – making each track slightly catchier even against the normal heads down thrash platform on display. Philly’s distinctive high pitch screams next to his speedy, mid-range delivery ensures plenty of neck whipping insanity to treasure, bassist Joe McGuigan as well as the gang-oriented chanting parts adding that extra layer of memorable movements in vocal tradeoffs for “Mask of Anarchy” to be another instant appealer. These lads love their early traditional/NWOBHM as much as their punk pioneers, circling back to some fine 80’s Metallica-like madness in the “Whiplash”-oriented “Don’t Get Your Hair Cut”, while “Circular Saw” features some undeniably addictive guitar lines from John Roche and Domo Dixon as the main musical foundation transitions all over the thrash map. And then there’s “Egyptron” giving a spotlight to hip hop DJ/vocalist Egyptian Lover, while closer “Bats In Your Hair” has a supreme sax solo segment from Gavin Kerins – both guests not thrown in just for the sake of diversity, but logically (and emotionally) adding context, texture, and muscle to the flavor/atmosphere of the songs.

BATS will keep the Gama Bomb hordes satisfied, keen on hearing this material across live stages wherever they can. Add in the pop culture, movie, horror, society-style lyrics and movie-poster throwback artwork/ inlay and you understand the value you’ll get time and again from the steady veterans.

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