Guillotine - _Blood Money_
by: Jeremy Ulrey (
The neo-thrash sweepstakes are off the races, and though Ed McMahon and his trademark postage paid return envelopes are nowhere to be found, there are plenty of bands mailing it in on their own dime. Guillotine released their debut in 1997, and so perhaps some degree of credit is due for getting in on the first wave of the thrash revival, but then the duo of Fredrik "Spider" Mannberg and Nils "Snake" Erikkson put the group to rest and went back to their salad band, Nocturnal Rites, when the first wave failed to produce fame and fortune. And so, following an eleven year hiatus and the recruitment of a couple of pick up players from another band called Persuader -- whom I've never actually heard of -- one could be forgiven for sniffing a whiff of opportunism in the air.The cover art promises a bit of tongue in cheek humor a la Nuclear Assault or D.R.I., but it turns out that's not the cover to judge this book by. Instead regard the flipside, where the almost stultifying banality of the song titles on the rear give a pretty solid working analysis of the amount of creative energy expended here. Single word metal clichés tip Guillotine's hand with songs named "War", "Liar" and "Rebellion" making one wonder whether the band didn't sit down and compose a list of '80s thrash tropes to pen lyrics to and then simply forgot to think up any actual song titles to go with them. For fuck's sake, there are songs named "Madness" and "Insanity" within a four track rotation of each other! Don't even get me started on the "Die/Live?", "Dying World" and "Welcome to Dying" trilogy.Considering the talent involved -- Mannberg and Daniel Sundborn both admittedly know their way around a fretboard -- it would be disingenuous to write the whole thing off as valueless. Even with the shrugged off, obligatory intellectual miasma on display, there are some legitimate chops on the fiery leads and Mannberg's modernised rasp elevates _Blood Money_ above mere copy cat status, though '80s thrash never sounded as rotely mechanical as Efraim Juntunen's too calculated drumming (the specter of the hated click track haunts every beat). But while it's nice to be able to toss off a credible third string thrash retread in one's sleep, at some point the effortlessness ceases to represent a prerequisite to greatness and just sounds like a lack of effort.
(article published 8/1/2009)
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