01. At Play in the Fields of Satan
02. Chapel of Horrors
03. Unleashing the Ghost
04. Insanity Without Indulgence
05. Halo of Maggots
06. Furnace Creek
07. Dark Shadow Crossing
08. Strangulation Ejaculation
09. Evil Pox 2016
10. Razamanaz *
(*) Featuring Manny Charlton of Nazareth
3rd album, first one since '87 by this mythic canadian Thrash Metal featuring Brian Langley (ex-INFERNÄL MÄJESTY) on vocals and a little bit more Death Metal tinged approach while still retaining that main full raging Thrash Metal basis. Their sound swims in the same seas of bands like POSSESSED, DARK ANGEL, HELLWITCH, INFERNÄL MÄJESTY, MORBID SAINT...
These Canadian bad boys were first formed in 1985 under the moniker ASYLUM, before they quickly changed name to AGGRESSION and delivered the legendary Thrasher "The Full Treatment", which recently has been re-released on Xtreem Music, an album with an intensly mix of Speed Metal, as only Canadians can do it, Thrash and what all young people nowadays call Proto Death Metal. A great album that deserves some attention! Things went as they often did back then, and the band faded and disbanded in 1989, until they suddenly appeared again with a 'new' album in 2004 entitled "Forgotten Skeleton" as AGGRESSION A.D. The new album was the intended debut album, scratched back then, remastered and released with some demo material by Great White North Records. Again a solid album, in the vein of "The Full Treatment" strangely enough, though a tad more raw, so one might understand why they did some re-recordings and a few new tunes back in the days. Now the boys are back, mainman and axe-slayer Denis "Sasquatch" Barthe and a bunch of new kids on the block, even though a couple of them have been around for a good time in various Canadian bands, including one of my favorite vocalists from over there, Brian Langley from TYRANT'S BLOOD. The new album follows the old thrashy Speed Metal recipe in a thick Death Metal gravy. Again tons of energy and straight forwardness. AGGRESSION are the masters of controlled chaos, there are always a lot of things going on, without the main riff, rhythm or vocals lose control. The riffing is massive and interlaced with some great leads, the drumming frantic, but still quite on point, the same can be said about the bass, keeping the pounding steady, just below the wall of cascading guitar riffs. The vocals, a rasping thrashy growl, with some wicked screams and disturing clean vocals, which works out very well. The production is also crushing, a bit too much perhaps, a bit more organic levelling would have made the album more massive, as it is mastered very high and all instruments are very much in level, too much of the time. A comeback that is very much granted, when the first album after more or less 30 years of hiatus is as strong as "Fragmented Spirit Devils". And I wonder who listened to who first: Hanneman or Barthe? Or do / did they just pull their basics from the same formula? I was a tad sceptic about this release, though that wasn't necesary as this album is as relevant as "The Full Treatment" and "Forgotten Skeleton". Now I just hope the great Canadians have more up their sleeve, so they can continue to haunt me. And on a finishing note, who in their right mind, chooses to do a cover of the Scottish heroes of 'Love Hurts' NAZARETH? Well for one, Canadian bad boys do, they have covered 'Razamanaz', a great Boogiefied Rock'n'Roll tune AGGRESSION-fied. Damn, it actually works quite well, to be honest.
AGGRESSION was formed as INCARNATION way back in 1981 in the city of Montreal, Canada, before they changed their moniker in the year of 1985. They released a demo in the year 1985 and followed that up with a second demo in the year 1986. The band went about releasing their first full-length studio album, "The Full Treatment", in the year 1987. They received favorable reviews for both the demos and also for the album and quickly became a firm local favorite. The band went about playing shows all over Canada and expanding their fan base, which had grown considerably. The band has played with bands like ANVIL, CELTIC FROST, VOIVOD, AGNOSTIC FRONT, DRI, POSSESSED, among others. The band crumbled and imploded due to drug and bad decisions and by the year 1989, they were almost over and remained dead and buried until the Montreal Metal Massacre fest in the year 2005 during which the band re-united to perform. The band received offers to reform and Denis "Sasquatch" Barthe put together a new line-up and kick started this legendary beast into activity.
"At Play In The Fields Of Satan" is the first track of the album and is a short spoken word song that sounds like a priest of Satan himself officiating the demise of the human race with weeping sobs of a woman as the background. Ominous start indeed. Which leads us to "Chapel Of Horrors" and it breaks free with church bells going off and a heavy three-chord melody before the introductory riff makes the mood even more demonic. The track then launches at breakneck speeds and is set to gruff, guttural vocals. The middle part of the song is occupied by a slow deliberate melody and it speeds up and slows down intermittently. "Unleashing The Ghost" has a killer opening riff and it follows the trend from the previous song, speeding up and slowing down almost at will. The song includes a superlative guitar lead that is a hark back at Thrash Metal songs of yore. "Insanity Without Indulgence" is a short instrumental that has acoustic guitar s and angelic chorus set to demonic gurgling of human meat and it includes a burp in the end! "Furnace Creek" also begins with a brief acoustic melody and is backed by heavy power chords. The song is a Thrash Metal song with Crossover Metal/Punk Metal leanings. The song is rapid and the riffs compliment the singing and the mood of the song. It almost seems like the band decided to roll Thrash and Punk Metal in to one big Metal sandwich of a song and it works! "Strangulation Ejaculation" introduced to us with a breakneck twin chugging guitar riff is an example of how a song can sound awesome with two rhythm guitar attack. The song is set to demonic singing and has a Punk Metal vibe to it and is a hasty track. The final track is "Razamanaz" by the band NAZARETH and the band plays it fast and furious and shaves off almost a minute off the original although the vocals sounds like how Lemmy would sing it.
As soon as the second track hits its stride, once can come to the conclusion that this album is going to be a barn-burner of an album. The band plays as a cohesive unit and I liked the fact that they were an amalgamation of genres. This church bashing of an album has plenty for Thrash Metal fans as well as the Punk/Crossover Metal fans. The songs are original and its not very difficult to see this band being so influential all those years ago. The only downside, if there were any, are the vocals. They feel a tad tired in places and not up to the mark at times. Having said that, this is a commendable effort by a make shift band and one hopes that the band will carry forward its legacy and keep the flag of Canadian Metal flying high.
Pocos serán los que recuerden aquel mítico álbum debut del ’87 llamado “The Full Treatment”, editado por estos míticos Thrashers canadienses llamados AGGRESSION, y yo por suerte soy uno de esos!! Aquel álbum, si bien no tuvo gran repercusión debido a su mala distribución y promoción, era ese tipo de Thrash Metal furioso, intenso y alocado que me ponía a cien!! Tras eso, la banda se disolvió y no volvió a hacer mucho hasta pasados unos 17 años, ya en 2004 vieron re-editado su álbum “Forgotten Skeleton” que en realidad debió haber sido su 1er álbum en el ’86, pero que nunca vio la luz y ya, otros 12 años más tarde, por fin se decidieron a grabar un nuevo álbum, con nuevos temas, formación nueva y un estilo algo cambiado.
De la formación original sólo queda el guitarrista Denis “Sasquatch” Barthe, que junto a Brian Lagnley, vocalista que, entre otras bandas, pasó por INFERNÄL MÄJESTY, lideran esta nueva encarnación de AGGRESSION junto a otros tres miembros (Ryan, Dave y Martin) que suena más actual pero no menos feroz e intensa. Como la mayoría de reuniones, o más bien “resurrección” en este caso, los grupos suelen afanarse por tratar de imitarse a cómo eran hace 30 años y fallan miserablemente, claro. La inspiración no es la misma, ya no tienes 17 años y el estilo podría quedar un tanto desfasado, así que AGGRESSION, en este nuevo “Fragmented Spirit Devils” optan por ser quienes son en la actualidad.
Ahora el sonido es más brutal, y si bien la base es un intenso y feroz Crossover Thrash, tienen dosis de Death Metal por momentos que junto con la variedad vocal de Brian, hacen que el álbum sea variado y de fácil escucha. La voz de Brian se me asemeja principalmente a la de Jeff Becerra de POSSESSED, e incluso hay cierto aire a dicha banda por momentos en el feeling de los temas, aunque también les denoto ciertos toques en plan DARK ANGEL, incluso a HELLWITCH EN “Halo of Maggots”, y la rabia de unos MORBID SAINT. En realidad estas influencias son más bien cosas mías, jaja, ya que escuchando este disco no se te viene a la mente ninguna banda en concreto, lo cual es todo un logro! El penúltimo tema “Evil Pox 2016” es una regrabación de uno de los temas de su 1ª demo del ’85 y la que cierra el álbum es una versión del “Razamanaz” de NAZARETH que cuenta con la colaboración del mismísimo guitarrista original Manny Charlton de dicha banda, metiendo solos que le dan un excelente toque al tema, muy rockanrrolero y con una voz totalmente a lo Lemmy por parte de Brian, que dan un cachondo colofón al álbum.
La producción es gruesa, potente y brutal, creo que es un álbum de esos que navegan entre el Thrash y el Death y que podría gustar a público de ambos estilos, ya que surfean entre uno y otro con gran naturalidad y el resultado es verdaderamente convincente. Si vives en otro mundo y aún no te has enterado de que este álbum salió hace ya 3 meses y aún sigues tratando de buscar bandas auténticas en los grandes sellos, deberías dejarte de hostias y pegarle una buena escucha a este discazo!!
It’s good to hear these guys back, I liked their debut "The Full Treatment" although I didn’t realise it was released near 29 years ago! This Canadian thrash group now engage a touch of death metal influences into their music, but only marginally, like on ‘Unleashing The Ghost’. For the most part of the release, this is a cool in depth thrash record. The more melodic of the thrashers and more riff orientated come to light with two tracks in particular, namely ‘Furnace Creek’ and ‘Dark Shadow Crossing’. Now I cannot find any reference to any guest slots, but the centre vocal section and the chorus of the latter sound like Dave Mustaine. A nice touch, maybe I’m picking that up wrong, but hey, that’s what it sounds like to me!
Of the rest of this anti church thrasher, there are plenty of plus points. No tracks sound like a filer and all have a respectful place on the release. ‘Evil Pox’ is an older track re-recorded, you can also tell that by the guitar arrangement, and the track ‘Strangulation Ejaculation’ really hits the spot. Their Nazareth cover actually sounds more Motorhead in places, perhaps the speed element and the way its recorded, but still a good track all the same.
All in all, Aggression have an album that sits between classic thrash (the faster early US variant) with some more modern death metal riffs and drum signatures. A solid release and very enjoyable overall, plus a welcomed return to the scene.
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