Album Review: Onslaught – Generation Antichrist 9 (Thrash Metal)

Written by Mass

  • Artist: Onslaught
  • Album: Generation Antichrist
  • Genre: Thrash Metal
  • Release Date: August 7th, 2020
  • Country: UK
  • Highlights: Religiousuicide – Generation Antichrist – Empires Fall – A Perfect Day To Die – Strike Fast, Strike Hard – Bow Down to the Clowns
  • Rating: 9.0/10

Orchestration of the Anarchist Dream

Thrash metal in the UK may not be nearly as well-known and popular as its American, German or even Canadian counterparts. You may count on one hand the thrash bands hailing from the UK who were actually able to garner global recognition and establish a solid fanbase. Nevertheless, they also had their own “Big 4 of Thrash Metal” with Acid Reign, Xentrix, Sabbat and Onslaught back in mid-1980s, a tad bit later than other widespread scenes. But much of the bands’ vigor and stamina burnt out quite shortly after their formation and some underwent long-term hiatuses (Xentrix 1997-2013, Decimator 1993-2020, Acid Reign 1991-2015) and some others disbanded altogether (Sabbat 1991). But luckily, in 2000s, a second wave of British thrashers came to life with such bands as Evile, Savage Messiah, Divine Chaos, and Gama Bomb to spearhead this movement alongside some veterans like Onslaught and with others like Eradikator or Reign of Fury to follow and make this genre more prominent in the island.

Since its reformation in 2005, Onslaught has released four robust studio albums, each of which stamping the bands emblem of majesty upon the sheets of metal. Their most recent release, Generation Antichrist, is the band’s latest uproar in this scene and has once more testified these veterans’ superiority over many posers. Despite the fact that they changed personnel almost entirely, with three new members on board (Dave Garnett on vocals, Wayne Dorman on the guitar and James Perry on drums), they still managed to not only release a decent thrash album but also up their game and do even better than they ever did. This album is roughly 40 minutes of relentless, neck-breaking, breath-taking, bone-crushing, speedy thrash filled to the brim with aggressive riffs, untiring drumming, in-your-face bass slaps and an exhilarating vocal performance.

The first point which I believe is the ace of this album is the mighty, all-out, high-octane riffs. Nige Rockett, the sole remaining member from the original line-up, has put on a show worthy of great praise. After almost four decades in music industry, Nige has kept wild and untethered the beast within him and he can still fire his machine gun on the guitar. From ferocious eponymous Generation Antichrist or Religiousuicide to more groovy pieces like Bow Down to the Clowns or Empires Fall, this album screams aggression and nothing drops the bomb more persistently as Rockett’s rocket riffs. Riffs paired with Wayne Dorman‘s solos galore and a pocketful of catchy, stage-friendly choruses, which will surely drive the live audiences mad and mindless, only mean that the guitarwork leaves nothing to be desired.

But the guitar heroes are not alone in this endeavor. In collaboration with the guitars is James Perry on the drum sit. His 32-year-old nitro hands and feet blast every beat and kick, pushing the sound full-force forward in every direction. He has skillfully managed to keep a punky spirit in most parts of the album, staying true to the band’s old roots. In particular, the drum works of Religiousuicide, Generation Antichrist and Bow Down to the Clowns are the ones I would choose as the drum highlights. Add to this crew, David Garnett and his ferocious voice. Despite the fact that Garnett’s predecessor, Sy Keeler, was an accomplished vocalist who had been in the band for more than 3 decades, the new sound of Onslaught seems not to be intimidated, proving himself to be up to par with renowned thrash vocalists. Nevertheless, time shall show his mettle.

Onslaught: AMF Online Store

Above all, however, I would wish to place Jeff Williams and his sublime, top-tier bass playing. It had been quite a while that I had not relished bass in metal albums as much as I did on this release. Seldom do we see bass being played at the same speed as lead guitar and rare are bass guitar solos, however short they may be. The opening of A Perfect Day to Die and the following riff and the fact that bass continues holding its place on top the music perfectly display Williams’ mastery over this instrument. Also contending for bass highlight can be Strike Fast Strike Hard, Generation Antichrist and even Religiousuicide.

As for the lyrics, they deal with pertinent modern concerns, from corrupt governments and politicians to resistance and revolutions, from religious mania to corporal and political mass control. The song-writing and composing of lyrics has been another task that the band has pulled off successfully and rigorously. There are several nuanced pieces that point to the thought behind it all, like “inhale… in hell” line on Addicted to the Smell of Death.

Overall, I should take a moment to give two gigantic thumbs up to Daniel Bergstrand for his production quality and his ability to bring every ounce of skill and talent out of these musicians and also, I would like to praise Onslaught for creating such a grand work 38 years into their careers. Generation Antichrist is certainly among the top thrash releases of 2020 with all pieces in place, from lyrics and song-writing to all aspects of their music; the band has nailed it on metal.  

Rating:

  • Lyrics: 9.5
  • Artwork: 8.0
  • Musicianship: 9.5
  • Vocals: 9.0
  • Overall: 9.0

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