Cruel Bomb – Manhattan Mischief (Self-Released)

Tuesday, 9th April 2019
Rating: 8/10

Power trios in any heavy genre appear to be less the norm these days – so it’s very cool when you hear a thrash act like Cruel Bomb treading the crossover/hardcore angle from an older perspective on their EP Manhattan Mischief. Forming in the fall of 2018, vocalist/guitarist Brandon James, bassist Kennie Barto, and drummer Kyle McKeown cut right to the chase, delivering four focused tracks plus an intro that keeps the eyes on the thrash prize, the crossover aspects coming more into play in terms of specific tones and the vocal delivery.

It’s important to keep all the moving parts in sync – Cruel Bomb are conscious of this and attuned to their thick bass sound, swinging and rifling drum shifts that can go at rapid-fire pace and then settle into a mid-tempo crossover stomp, as well as a fierce, driving guitar tone set to stun mode. You’ll find even in the under two-minute title cut, their affinity for Nuclear Assault, Toxic Holocaust, and Slayer reigns – the double kick punches through the mix, beyond Brandon’s screams from the grave for the chorus and a mid-section reprieve that should cause pit chaos. ‘Life is what you make it/ sometimes it’s not fair’ quips the guitarist during “Breathe” – and you can tell his Jamey Jasta-like presence cuts like a knife through the mix, sure to promote unison audience back and forth activities. Occasional nods to doom-bends occur against the jackhammer wall of sound thrash – check out personal favorite “Misanthropy”, where you get a bit of Sabbath/Crowbar-ish atmosphere against the chugging guitars and consistent double kick patterns. Aspects of early Metallica and Anthrax go toe to toe for the “Dead Wake” finale, seamlessly going into overdrive during the verses/lead break but throwing down some serious bass heroics in the transitions.

Cool cover art and logo to boot, the only bummer about Manhattan Mischief is it’s done in a scant 12 minutes – when you are dying for a little bit more. Considering the band has been around for less than a year, it’s an impressive out of the gate start – Cruel Bomb should be a band that rises up the ranks as they get more shows and songwriting under their belts.

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