REVIEW: GAMA BOMB – “Untouchable Glory”
Often, there is nothing better than some aggressive, adrenaline-fueled thrash metal.
The 80s’ thrash revolution, spearheaded by iconic bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and countless others (each in their prime), is said to have died in the 90s. Grunge and nu-metal took over, they say. Formed in Ireland, modern thrashers Gama Bomb are constantly proving that statement wrong, sparking a renaissance of good ol’ thrash metal, along with other bands like Municipal Waste, Warbringer, Merciless Death, etc.
On October 30th, 2015, Gama Bomb will drop ‘Untouchable Glory’, their fifth slab of studio-quality “no clean guitars, no ballads, and no synths allowed” thrash metal. Said to be inspired by vintage kung-fu moves, this new album lives up to the rebellious standards of thrash, clocking in at a brisk 31 minutes despite comprising 12 songs. With no filler, no guitar wankery and no build-up, ‘Untouchable Glory’ is relentless “intro-verse-chorus-solo” madness.
Reminiscent of veterans Overkill and of younger talent like Municipal Waste, vocalist Philly Byrne deals out quick, clean vocals that work wonderfully well with the naturally upbeat tempo of every song on the album. Plenty of backing vocals and layered, huge choruses add an extra tinge of bad-assery to an already solid vocal performance (“She Thing” is a great example of this vocal interplay).
Guitarists Domo Dixon and John Roche rip through the songs with typical thrash riffing and blistering solos; it’s worth mentioning that the tone and final mix of the guitars is crystal-clear and just about right. Listening to the opening/title track “Ninja Untouchables/ Untouchable Glory” is enough to be convinced of this. The quality and the fun nature of the guitar-work doesn’t diminish as the album moves on from track to track.
Gama Bomb’s rhythm section, consisting of Paul Caffrey on drums and Joe McGuigan on bass and vocals, work tirelessly throughout, with plenty of skank beats, double bass, and easily audible basslines that form a solid backbone for the guitarists to weave their magic around. “Tuck Your T-shirt In” is one of the songs that features prominent bass guitar lines and quick skin-smashing. This sort of rhythm section cohesion is not unique to just a few songs, finding itself lending massive grooves to each of the 12 tracks on the record.
Similarly, the vocals and guitar-work are consistent throughout, but one might feel this formula to be monotonous or repetitive six to seven songs in. The album would be criticized heavily if Gama Bomb had made a 60-minute saga of this sound, but the album ends quickly. This makes it a fun record to listen to, unflinching in its intensity, and pushes Gama Bomb one rung up the ladder of a thrash metal renaissance.