Lots of bands have come and gone through the musically vicious echelons of extreme metal over the course of the genre’s long, varied and complex history, but few acts have been able to carve out such an unprecedented influence and legacy despite relative inactivity in terms of album output as Los Angeles grindcore old-schoolers Terrorizer. After their initial disbandment in 1986 caused members to enter the ranks of Morbid Angel, Napalm Death and more, and dropping records occasionally over the years, Terrorizer is back in 2018 to deliver their fourth album ‘Caustic Attack’.
Part of the fun of extreme metal is the relaxed attitude to the darker sides of humanity and society, and with song titles like “Sharp Knives”, “Terror Cycles” and especially “Poison Gas Tsunami” it is clear that Terrorizer have definitely been somewhat inventive with the topics this album centers around. While perhaps not up to snuff with some of the genre’s bigger players when it comes to complete lyrical dismemberment, Terrorizer have added their own spin on things, for sure. And with an overall track listing of 14 songs altogether, ‘Caustic Attack’ pulls absolutely no punches in kicking things off with a musical wallop to the face.
“Turbulence” starts the record off in a big way, delivering the kind of pummeling instrumentation that you’d hope to expect from a style of music so punishingly relentless as extreme metal. One of the defining qualities of a lot of death metal is that some albums tend to follow a musical trend and each track generally adopts a slightly different approach on what is essentially the same formula, and ‘Caustic Attack’ is a pretty good example of this. Right from track 2 “Invasion” and following songs “Conflict and Despair”, “Devastate” and “Crisis”, it becomes evidently clear that Terrorizer are not aiming to break down any new barriers in terms of artistic invention, but are sticking to their guns plain and simple by building on the pre-existing foundation of their prior records and generally making sure that this new album lives up to the legacy that the band has developed over the decades.
“Crisis” and its prolonged instrumental opening followed by some crushing playing from the band’s rhythm section of drummer Pete Sandoval and bassist/vocalist Sam Molina paves the way as the album nears its half-way mark, and at this point the quality of the musical output on display definitely starts to pick up somewhat after a perceived decent start. Pretty much everything about the songs at this point in the album (namely “Infiltration”, “The Downtrodden”, “Trench of Corruption” and “Sharp Knives”) is an improvement on what has come before, with catchier ‘melodies’ (if you can even attribute melody to music as ferocious as this) plus the riffs, vocal lines and everything else that builds towards a song working both sonically and instrumentally.
The final batch of tracks on Terrorizer’s new album ‘Caustic Attack’ can only confirm everything that I’ve already gone over in this review – that this three-piece have crafted one of the genre’s finest efforts of the last few years if what you fancy is straight-up no bells and whistles extreme metal. While it may appear at some points somewhat repetitive in terms of musicality and ideas, those fallbacks only serve as brief distractions when it comes to what Terrorizer have been able to put together over the course of these 14 songs. If you’re into death metal or any kind of extreme music, then this is an album you should definitely keep an eye out for.