In case you haven't noticed, the thrash resurgence is in full effect. Though they were in diapers (if even born) when the onslaught of aggression heard on classics like "Kill 'Em All", "Show No Mercy", "Pleasure To Kill" or even "Forbidden Evil" turned the metal world on its collective ear, a new generation of bangers have refused to succumb to the peer pressure of bro-caps and chick pants and instead have donned the denim n' leather uniforms proudly worn by their anti-social ancestors. Newcomers such as WARBRINGER and MUNICIPAL WASTE, to name a couple, have proven that evil truly does have no boundaries where age is concerned and given the old guard a reason to come out at night again. Taking their name from another 80's era album that helped to define the genre, BONDED BY BLOOD, is another group of youngsters who heard the call from beyond the womb and have set out to add to the recently reborn and ever-growing metal militia.
"Feed The Beast" is very much a throwback to the glory days of the Bay Area movement, drawing heavily from EXODUS and early MEGADETH (in the guitars mainly). Vocalist Jose "Aladdin" Barrales brings a good Paul Baloff impression to the table in both tone and phrasing. With that, he also brings a bit of cheese and unoriginality as well. Many of the verses follow similar patterns and voice fluctuations, which just so happen to come directly from the book of Baloff. On the flipside of that coin, Barrales does maintain a consistent loyalty to the style of his heroes and delivers a powerful and entertaining performance. Guitarists Juan Juarez and Alex Lee deliver the sort of energetic, galloping, skin-ripping arsenal of riffs and whammy-addled solos that raised my horns so many years ago, and they're damn good at it too. Unlike the vocals, the guitars do well to include an aura of individuality when compared to the thrash of years gone by. Sure, there are more than a few instances where you could find yourself saying, "That sounds a lot like…," but there isn't really a reason to point the finger of plagiarism either. That being said, the lead riff on "Immortal Life" is one we've heard from several schools of metal, and while said track is the album's biggest ear-catcher, it's the outright speed metal aggression of "Self Immolation" and "Necropsy" that had me coming back for more. Admittedly, the thrashed-out remake of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" cartoon theme song is one of my favorites, but does little to keep BONDED BY BLOOD from being labeled a well-schooled retro act. At the end of the day, who cares? It's a damn fun song. As is the rest of "Feed The Beast".
That element of pure, unbridled, thrash-or-be-thrashed fun is what makes BONDED BY BLOOD such a viable act during the thrash Renaissance. Efforts from WARBRINGER, MERCILESS DEATH and EVILE might hit a bit harder and even add to the glory that is thrash metal instead of relive it, but "Feed The Beast" is still a disc that one can rage to. I can only imagine the sheer force of this band's live show. Thrash or die my friends, thrash or die.