Onslaught - _Sounds of Violence_
(AFM Records, 2011)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (
A little known fact about Onslaught for those of you who don't know much about them: alongside Possessed, they were the first bands ever to formally use the expression "death metal". Both of them released albums in 1985 with a track called "Death Metal". Which one of them exactly came to it first and decided to use it has remained a metal mystery. Onslaught are not American; they're actually from Bristol, England, and they've been around much longer than you'll be with that girl who said OK when you told her you have Onslaught tickets. Like most thrash bands, they've suffered through the drought of the '90s and they came back with the new millennium. Their comeback album _Killing Peace_ was released in 2007 and it sounded the alarms for the return of a household name in the business.Four years on and they're done with album number five, _Sounds of Violence_, which serves as a renewal of the band's membership in the international thrash metal society. "Born for War" commences the violence with a frantic pace and that signature gritty Onslaught guitar tone, with pummeling double bass drumming that sounds more natural than 90% of those young thrash drummers of the retro movement. The album's overall speedometer isn't kept constant throughout the eleven tracks; "Code Black" kicks off with a rather uncharacteristic hardcore breakdown, then transitions into a mid-tempo intensifying affair with Sy Keeler going a little deeper than usual with his vocals. It is then followed by "Rust in Pieces", which sends the speedometer sky rocketing into the high speed zone.Given the band's history, it shouldn't be much of a surprise when you find a couple of tracks that sound like their older peers from _Killing Peace_, like "Hatebox" and "Suicideology". I'm sure they will get the mosh pits raging around the most pretentious of metal fans, but they may get a little formulaic after repeated visits. Others like "Godhead" and "Antithiest" keep the opposition to religious dogma quite strong, and if statements like "Children of god, you're fucking evil" or "You made me pray to a god that I'll never believe in" don't get you racing to the confessionals in your nearby chapel, then you'll enjoy these tracks with a clenched fist.Onslaught may have pushed the envelope in 1985 when they named one of their tracks "Death Metal", but they're not pushing it with _Sounds of Violence_. It sticks to the rather successful recipe of playing aggressive riffs, firing off the double bass drumming, harshening up the vocals and insulting whoever the fuck you want, which quite frankly fits Onslaught very adequately. So if religiously offensive, traditional, angry thrash metal is your thing, then _Sounds of Violence_ will pretty much hit the spot.
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