Burn Damage - Age of Vultures
Raging Planet Records
Thrash/Groove/Death Metal
8 songs (28' 50")
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Andy
Surprise of the month

Portuguese thrash outfit Burn Damage recently released their first full-length, Age of Vultures, blending death metal and groove influences with thrash. They mentioned a number of lineup changes in the past in their promotional literature, but this one is a very strong one. And so's the album, a ferocious and rhythmic chugfest that ignores the thrash revival templates in favor of Pantera-style blasts of fury.

The mostly palm-muted guitars unite with the bass to give a deep, heavy tone spiked with harmonic screams. On songs with slower tempos such as the title track, this is reasonably good, but thrashing is what takes their sound to its fullest potential -- My Own Game and Refugee' neck-breaking chorus runs remind me faintly of Master at their most thrash-oriented. Perhaps that's because of the vocals, which, unlike a lot of thrash metal bands, are anything but clean -- and while Arch Enemy and other female-fronted bands have proven time and time again that there are women who can sing in a death-metal style perfectly well, it's still a surprise to find out that vocalist Inês Freitas can rival an Anselmo or a Speckmann at times with her deep, pissed-off roar.

The other ingredient is the drumming, which I normally don't notice as much as the guitar, but a good deal of the heaviness of Burn Damage's sound has to do with the simple but precise drumming of founder Alexandre Grácio. The production gives the listener the impression that he's using baseball bats for sticks, but with the skill of a surgeon, putting a delicate intricacy into fills that would otherwise be a garden-variety punk or thrash passage, especially on Refugee.

For a first LP, Age of Vultures is an excellent start, taking some of the best attributes from Burn Damage's influences and weaving them together into a short but effective album. This one should appeal strongly to old-school death/groove fans.

Killing Songs :
My Own Game, Four Little Pigs, Refugee
Andy quoted 83 / 100
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