Compilation albums are often rather useless affairs, but some of them leave a mark on the way you remember and understand music. In black metal, the first two World Domination compilations on Osmose, as well as the Blackened compilation CDs, were once very influential on my music taste. In death metal, the Deaf Metal Sampler remains a masterpiece, if you ask me. As I sit down to drunkenly pen a review of Spain’s Agresiva’s upcoming third album, however, it is another series of compilation albums that weigh on my mind: the Doomsday News compilations, three excellent thrash/heavy metal comps put out by Noise International in 1988, 1989 and 1990.
On Decibel Ritual Agresiva mix thrashy tones reminiscent of Coroner, Kreator and Tankard with the more melodic, heavy and power metal of, say, Helloween. All these bands were featured on the first volume of Doomsday News, and while there may certainly be other artists who by themselves could be utilized to describe this album more precisely, I’d still say that the path I’ve set upon above is the best: Agresiva is heavy/thrash metal in the vein of the Doomsday News compilations, though very much updated production wise, and with a style of their own.
As I’ve spent most of my formative years, and many years of stagnation since, listening to less melodic genres of metal and other music, it may not be worth much when I say that these Madridian madmen have a “style of their own”. Still, the fluent shifts between gut wrenching, late 80’s thrash metal and melodic, driven heavy metal are all very appealing, and I can’t think of any single band that do things in quite this way. From the blastbeat opening of “Run Like the Wind”, to the power metal humpa-bumpa horse riding beat of “We stand”, the blend between thrash and heavy metal remains fresh and interesting.
When you isolate single riffs or certain passages, you’re all but ready to stamp them with a very specific genre definition, but when listening to whole tracks things become more complicated. Regardless, the thrash riffing might be my favorite part. Several tracks open with riffs very much in the style of Tankard’s “Need Money for Beer”, or other thrash anthems. As the songs progress, the proportions of aggressive thrashing and melodic, heavy metal choruses and melodies change back and forth.
To sum up, this is an album suitable for remembering old compilations, for enjoying a brilliant marriage of thrash and heavy metal, and for being drunk. The release date is set at April 21th, but the album is available for pre-order from label Minotauro records already. Go get it, boy! Go get it!