Mental Care Foundation – III (Reaper Entertainment)Wednesday, 4th May 2022
Developing around the bars and pubs of Kokkola, Finland, Mental Care Foundation got their start in 2003, slugging out Pantera and Slayer covers – issuing two albums and a single in 2012 before going radio silent. Understandable given that half the quartet have ties to a professional power metal outfit that has worldwide acclaim like Sonata Arctica – finally hunkering down in different studios and rehearsal spots to arrive at III. Vocalist Lance Lawrence Thruster (aka Henrik Klingberg) and bassist Pasi Kauppinen are the primary players of note – fleshed out with Winterborn guitarist Antti Hokkala and fellow drummer Lauri Bexar. Exercising a love of groove-oriented thrash with plenty of American aggression, the focused attack plus driving nature to this material is sure to appease the beer stomping legions.
A slew of 90’s-oriented influences penetrate the main guitar play and supporting rhythm section activities you’ll hear throughout these ten tracks – a southern-oriented groovy tone, rumbling bass, and swinging tempo mechanics all there. The slamming bass/guitar synchronization and half-time stop/start nature during the verses allows “Escape” to slink into the soul, while a bit of darker grunge textures give chase to faster, chugging thrash riffs for “Blind” – Henrik using a lower register that encapsulates a gritty Pepper Keenan with a twist of grunge character. Police sirens and creepy soundtrack elements set the stage for “Zombie”, the semi-djent riffing and steady main tempo hypnotic before the main, heads down musical passages and double kick foundation encourages steady headbanging. Most of these songs contain purity and clarity – plug in, play, and quickly move onto the next idea, which is ideal when you want to execute a mix of groove metal with swampy/thrash accents. Less is more, encouraging a building momentum pace even in a track like “The Vengeance” that seems to be doomy in the initial parts, only to push to Overkill-like jackhammer delivery, Henrik matching the rhythms at a speedy clip while Antti unfurls a Kirk Hammett/Kerry King-oriented lead break.
A departure for these musicians more closely associated with melodic/power metal platforms, III gets the job done for meat and potatoes, bluesy-driven groove metal.