Talk about no frills… There is just something about the bleak cover art and an album title like "The Switch to turn off Mankind" that makes one think that AUDIOPAIN's latest offering is going to be a bullshit-less, straight to the point affair. And it is in fact that, as the underground Norwegian trio knock six consecutive tracks of go-for-the-throat thrash metal right out of the park.
This is one of those albums on which the band gets it right over and over again, yet the music is anything but inventive. The style descends directly from classic American and German thrash without coming off like one of the now numerous retro thrash bands. Buzz saw riffing and a decidedly non-digitized sound (e.g. it actually sounds like Bjarne is playing live) give "The Switch to Turn off Mankind" the feeling that one should get from a merciless thrash album: a fear of the world's demise and a hot shot of adrenaline. It is most noticeable on opener "Hellbound" and the outstanding title track (that last chorus line of "I rule the switch to turn off mankind" will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up). The band finally slows it down and locks into a gnarly groove on "Termination Fields", yet another track that seems to get catchier after every play, while the lick that opens "Alliance" vaguely recalls "Kill 'Em All"-era METALLICA. Guitarist Sverre Dæhli's urgent and raspy delivery is another aspect that gives the disc its deliciously primal feel. You believe the guy means every word when he's spitting the lyrical venom right in your face.
When the 26 minutes of sonic lava has ceased flowing, all you really want to do is start the damn thing over again…and trust me, you will. I would imagine "The Switch to Turn off Mankind" will end up one of 2007's largely unnoticed gems. Don't ignore this album.