Terrifier – Trample the Weak, Devour the Dead (Empire Records)Wednesday, 24th May 2023
Vancouver, Canada’s Terrifier returns to the scene six years after their previous release Weapons of Thrash Destruction (reviewed by this scribe for the site), modified to a power trio lineup from a quintet on their third album Trample the Weak, Devour the Dead. Signing to Belgian label Empire Records, it’s not surprising that the band choose to recruit classic cover artist Ed Repka to deliver his unmistakable illustration qualities to this record (fit zombies and skulls abound). This is another case of keeping the machine rolling in a familiar crunchy semi-speedy/mid-tempo template for these eight songs, adding in some extreme/melodic nuances to differentiate themselves from the pack.
The influence tree pulls from a mix of European and North American artists, mostly of the 80’s/90’s thrash lineage. The galloping nature plus progressive shifts right away on “Trial By Combat” create a whirlwind opener, drummer Kyle Sheppard executing masterful fills of dexterity beyond injecting some semi-blasting/intuitive transitions to keep the stellar guitar/bass work on point as Rene Wilkinson shreds like Dave Mustaine or Alex Skolnick on steroids. Bassist Chase Thibodeau lacerates the airspace vocally, seesawing between raspy Exodus-ish parts and savage Warbringer-esque screams, the collective gang shouting sprinkling extra ‘powerhouse’ pull to standout cuts like “Perpetual Onslaught” or jagged “Dawn of the Slaughter”. Listeners can expect a bevy of rhythms, harmony runs, plus tantalizing lead breaks to study, process, and treasure – much like the work of early Testament, Forbidden, or classic Kreator. This is the type of heads down power/thrash that requires precision, stellar musical abilities, as well as the knowledge/insight to craft the songs in such a way to be relatable without overstepping the ‘too much information’ temptation. Favorites include “Grinding the Blade” with its fluid neoclassical acoustic/electric passages weaving into a ripping musical mainframe that would make Overkill/Annihilator followers envious and the marching closer “Awaiting Desecration” where Chase unleashes some sinister screams and growls against the semi-blasting, chaotic riffs.
Trample the Weak, Devour the Dead succeeds as an album because the three-piece pay close attention to all the finer details necessary to be proficient in a semi-technical thrash manner without losing the plot. Terrifier should be gaining more traction and attention as they have fired out another strong record here.