Assaulter – Boundless! (Metal Blade Records)

Thursday, 21st March 2013
Rating: 6/10

Cherry-picking from the fields of bands still enamored with the old-school, raw, and sloppy sounds of early Venom, Sodom, Destruction, etc. is getting increasingly easier. And it’s not just limited to the totally retrograde thrash movement that is slowly petering out in North America – it’s on the other side of the pond too, Australia, even. That’s where the Alan Nemtheanga (Primordial)-selected Assaulter come into play on their second album, Boundless!.

This goes without saying, but Boundless! has the predictable old-school production job tentacles wrapped firmly around it. Fuzzy guitars, too-loud-in-the-mix vocals, and lo-fi drums are in order here, and while it’s not necessarily a bad thing (an organic production beats a processed one), it does little to aid Assaulter in their quest. It also doesn’t help that a lot of these songs aren’t very interesting.

The album gets off to a clunky start with “Entrance,” as the band struggles to find a proper tempo and rhythm. When vocalist S. Beserker opens his trap, it’s obvious that he should be screeching over more black metal-laden soundscapes, which is quite problematic throughout. Both “Outshine” (not the Soundgarden song, mind you, which is “Outshined”) and “Exalt the Master” make their best attempts at establishing some type of pace with cutting melodies, but don’t have much else to them. The Slayer-like leads in “The Perpetual War” have some merit to them, as does the “epic” closer of “The Great Subterfuge,” a song that is probably the only one out of the eight that is able to establish any type of real momentum in the Hell Awaits-vein.

Quite hard to get enthused about something that is so tied to a certain era (a good one, at that) and is so unimpressive. Getting through Boundless! is a slog, no question about it.

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