We do love a bit of proper Thrash here at CB, and our recent encounter at Bloodstock Open Air served as a timely reminder that raucous upstarts Shrapnel are one of the finest modern exponents of the fine art of face melting.
Not long after BOA the eagerly awaited news that Shrapnel’s second full length album was available arrived in our inbox and we were eager to see what the guys have in store for us this time around.
The album was given the final kick into the public domain with the help of a highly successful pledge campaign, reaching 155% of the target, so there was enough left over for a few well deserved beers and a decent slice going to the Childlike Rocks charity too.
It’s been a while since The Virus Conspires bruised our eardrums in 2014, and the intervening time has been well spent with the band playing basically anywhere that would have them. The result of all this effort shines through in almost every aspect of Raised On Decay, which comes across as a pumped up version of its predecessor with bigger beats, bigger riffs and, well, you get the idea.
Hollow Earth gets things underway with a blast. Shrapnel’s new found poise and confidence shines through as they go straight for the musical jugular. It’s one of those album openers that you hear and immediately think “if the rest of the album is this good…..”
On the first listen Jester was the track that really grabbed the attention. Straight out of the old school book of gems it ticks all the boxes as the band showcase their new found musical maturity. Shrapnel aren’t a band who feel the need to indulge their sensitive side or engage in anything unnecessary, and none of the tracks on here overstay their welcome. The twin guitar work is about the best we’ve heard from a thrash band that isn’t Testament with some awesome harmonisey bits when the two axemen aren’t trying to outdo each other with some stunning solos.
Half way through Echoes Of Emptiness does threaten a respite, but it doesn’t last long and things are soon back to full pelt while towards the end Choir Of Wolves kicks off with a Megadeth-ey spoken word bit before the riff kicks in with style, this is another old fashioned bruiser of a thrash song, and sums up all that is good about this mob. Yep, we like Shrapnel, and we love this album, it just hits the gas and doesn’t lift off until the end. The Thrash scene is still very much dominated by the legends from back in the day, but with Raised On Decay Shrapnel have struck a solid blow for the new generation.