Shredhead - Death Is Righteous
Mighty Music
Thrash Metal
11 songs (41' 36")
Release year: 2015
Mighty Music
Reviewed by Andy

Israel seems to me, for whatever reason, to be an unlikely source of thrash metal. Sure, there's definitely a metal scene there, but I don't think "thrash" when I think of that country. But Shredhead's sophomore LP, Death Is Righteous is somewhat of a surprise not only in its origin, but in its sound; unlike that of many new-generation thrash bands, this is no rehash of the mid-80s sound, but a modern interpretation of the genre that owes just as much to Pantera and its followers as it does to Slayer.

Though they started as a cover band, it's pretty easy to see here how quickly Shredhead's been evolving since they won the Israeli Metal Battle a couple years ago. The first few bars of Devil's Race belie the groove-driven blasting of the rest of this track, and Aharon Ragoza's deep, wrathful bark sounds like that of a pissed-off bear, verging on death-metal harshness, especially on the next track, LPBZ, which piles on the heaviness even higher than its predecessor. Mix-wise, the drums get a lot of play here and almost overwhelm the track when drummer Roee Kahana starts laying on the double-kick. The guitars fly choppily from a fast attack on the verse of Last Words Are Lost to a groovy chorus with a weirdly infectious riff, until the band slows way down partway through the track with harder, crunchier riffs than ever, eventually burying it all for a while in more hammering drums. The title track is a bit more traditional, sounding a bit like something Testament would have done in recent years -- which includes the face-melting solo -- but throws in some strange elements towards the end (was that synth I just heard? On a thrash album?)

Not that one gets a chance to ponder that much. Hallucinations is fiercely heavy and gives the listener a solo right off the bat that leads right into a bridge of tremolo-picked guitar that returns quickly to more ripping attacks on the eardrums that sound very much like a thrashy Vader, and Walk With the Dead is no lighter. On the latter, there are some slower passages, as if the band is giving the listener time to resurface for a moment from the violence of their sound, before plunging back in at a neck-snapping pace, and I Hate Myself provides a very short respite with a soft, clean, but somehow ominous little ditty that introduces the final track, I Am. This last one is less technical, but more melodic than the others, especially on the chorus, which I liked quite a bit, its strummed guitar harmonizing with Ragoza's yells of rage very nicely. Here, too, there is a slow bridge where the vocals are ground out even more harshly and the riffing gets even heavier until everything whiplashes back to normal speed.

Death Is Righteous is worth the listen, in my opinion. It's well-produced, brutally heavy, and it avoids the obvious trap of paying too much homage to thrash's predecessors, while still showing plenty of signs of influence from them. Fans of newer thrash and groove -- or anyone who liked the more recent Slayer and Testament albums -- will probably enjoy this one.

Killing Songs :
LPBZ, Hallucinations, I Am
Andy quoted 84 / 100
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