REVIEW: ONSLAUGHT – “Generation Antichrist”
The Wikipedia definition of thrash music is “Thrash metal (or simply thrash) is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work.” The latest thrash offering from Onslaught called Generation Antichrist will see the light of day on August 7th It is certainly a bruising thrash album. The question is, does it make the cut in today’s thrash revival?
Since reforming in 2005, Onslaught have been kicking ass and taking names. Releases such as Sound of Violence in 2011 and VI in 2013 showcase punishing metal music gleaming with bristling riffs and powerhouse rhythms. Shortly before announcing the new album, the band reported that vocalist Sy Keeler had left. His replacement is Dave Garnett. He joins founding guitarist Nige Rockett, bassist Jeff Williams, drummer James Perry, and guitarist Wayne Dorman.
The tuning of radio as I make it way to a given broadcast marks the start of the first song called “Rise To Power”. This tune is sure to be the intro music for upcoming Onslaught gigs. It is a fierce battle cry giving you a prelude to the musical direction on Generation Antichrist.
Ripping into the flesh of this album begins with “Strike Fast Strike Hard”. One of the best features of the new Onslaught album is the drums. They are tight and vehement. You get the feeling that James Perry is trying to destroy his kit on every song. The song also provides a window into the attacking guitars and bass. The guitar tone is crisp and menacing. Producer Daniel Bergstrand has crafted a gorgeous mix which allows the bass to come through without sacrificing the razor sharpness of the overall sound.
I want to love Generation Antichrist, but can’t. The vocals by Dave Garnett are excellent. He casts his voice with power and a satisfying rasp. What keeps this album from becoming great is the songwriting. While the riffs are catchy and powerful, they feel uninspired. This could be overlooked if it weren’t for the lyrics. The themes are tired and overplayed. Every time I listened, I wished that Onslaught were telling a more interesting story or taking a new angle at subjects such as religion, war, and suffering.
Generation Antichrist by Onslaught is a battle tank of raging thrash music. Through all nine tracks, Onslaught is relentless in firing a barrage of crunchy riffs backed with roaring bass and drums. The snarling vocals give the music a deadly razor edge. With all that firepower wrapped up in a killer mix, you would think this has to be one of the best thrash albums of 2020. Sadly, while the band’s performance is top-notch, the songwriting is generic. In particular, the lyrical content is unremarkable and causes the album to suffer.