Riffobia – Riffobia (Floga Records)

Friday, 10th March 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

While most people look to the United States, Germany, or the UK for many leaders in specific heavy music categories, there are diamonds in other countries. Greek act Riffobia originally started in 2004, finally releasing their first album Laws of Devastation in 2013 plus the follow-up Death From Above in 2016. Absent on the recording front for six plus years, they signed with domestic label Floga Records for this third, self-titled outing – and for those that love the power of heads down power thrash chock full of steamroller riffs, punchy rhythm section support, and vicious vocals with the right gang-infused intensity this could be another heavy hitter for 2023 to investigate.

The spirit of Bay Area meets Teutonic thrash is strong throughout these nine main tracks (excusing the atmospheric “The Divine Infinity” 1:46 intro). Crunchy, thick riffs from guitarist Dimitris Kontogiannis serve notice that the rhythms contain neck gripping qualities for spontaneous spells of headbanging, the lead breaks providing that shredding/slaying electricity that almost goes off the rails with its use of tapping or wah-wah effects. Bassist Achilleas Theoktistou and drummer Michalis Zounarakis whip songs like “Herald of Pain” and “Murder” into militant precision molds hard to ignore – thick bottom end angles along with the right snappy fills, double bass, or foundational energetic tempo mechanics to get the job done. Over the top of the deadly music singer Chris Ntelis positions himself in the verbal terrorizer role, relentless in his raspy, semi-hoarse delivery as winning cuts like “Merciless” and “Welcome to Hell” land the proper brain/body combinations – the latter possessing similarities to “Killers” by Iron Maiden in certain verses. The final track “Soul Collector” showcases Riffobia in more of an epic arrangement – the initial musical components a bit more brooding, the middle instrumental sequence gathering momentum to feature some killer melodic harmony moments before the swirling winds take over to a haunting atmosphere conclusion.

This self-titled record for Riffobia contains sufficient trademarks for people into the back catalogs of Kreator, fellow Greek band Suicidal Angels, and Testament without being a mere carbon copy – a great sign of strength three albums into one’s career. Prototypical cover art aside, prepare for circle pits as this album checks off all the ideal boxes for good, friendly, violent fun.

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