HIMSA
"Summon in Thunder"

(Century Media)

01. Reinventing the Noose
02. Haunter
03. Big Timber
04. Given in to the Taking
05. Skinwalkers
06. Curseworship
07. Hooks as Hands
08. Ruin Them
09. Den of Infamy
10. Unleash Carnage
11. Summon in Thunder

RATING: 8/10

Seattle's HIMSA have stayed the course these past several years, kicking out reliable modern thrash albums that tear flesh with scorching guitars and venomous vocals, the last of which, "Hail Horror", marked its final release for Prosthetic Records. Signing a well-deserved deal with Century Media, the quintet has released "Summon in Thunder", an album that is without a doubt the group's finest to date. I'm sure the boys are elated about the career boost, but they sure do sound pissed off on the new long player.

The view from above illustrates an album that sounds better from top to bottom: songwriting, sound mix, and overall intensity. The first class recording team of Steve Carter (producer of "Courting Tragedy and Disaster"), Devin Townsend (vocal production), and Tue Madsen (mixing/mastering) harnesses the unit's musical ferocity, emphasizing every detail, right down to vocalist terrorist John Pettibone's paint-peeling delivery. It is in fact an all-consuming sound with an emphasis on the splitting of ears. The shock of the up tick in fury occurring after the first spin is downright destabilizing.

The return of guitarist Sammi Curr has bolstered the effort, resulting in a marked improvement in songwriting, fiery riffs, and those all important guitar harmonies. The urgency in the effort is heard as soon as the introductory segment of "Reinventing the Noose" hits with sledgehammer force, the fireworks then continuing in the form of "Haunter" (which happens to remind of vintage THE HAUNTED). No stop lights or yield signs obstruct the path either, as the album keeps unveiling one powerful song after another, "Big Timber", "Given into the Taking", and one of the album highlights, "Skinwalkers", a particularly explosive trio.

"Summon in Thunder" is the complete package for which fans have been waiting. Vicious as a starving wolverine, yet dynamic and tuneful, you will remember "Summon in Thunder" long after your ears have stopped ringing (if they ever do). Much like the effect of HURTLOCKER's new effort, "Embrace the Fall", fans of rabid American thrash will squeal like stuck pigs during a listening session with "Summon in Thunder".

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