We've heard a lot of this new school, hardcore-tough thrash metal these last several years and fortunately quite a few bands do it well. But progression is not a characteristic of the genre, which suits the bands and many fans of the style just fine. Separation from the pack however is difficult to achieve, a truth that has kept acts like HATESPHERE and UNHOLY moving, just not in a forward direction. Such is the case with Portugal's SWITCHTENSE who've just released their sophomore self-titled full-length.
There is no shortage of aggression on this sucker and even when the album dips into redundancy, a wrecked necked is still a good bet. Better than average, though not by much, SWITCHTENSE hit it hard and fast, usually similar to the approach taken by DEW-SCENTED, albeit without the same degree of songwriting skill. That DEW-SCENTED vocalist Leif Jensen contributes to "Legacy of Hate" is anything but a shock. SWITCHTENSE vocalist Hugo Andrade brings a convincing rasp-bark, but would do well to pay closer attention to Jensen who possesses a firmer command of inflectional-shift and pattern-tweak. Occasionally you'll hear some PANTERA ("Head of State") or STAMPIN' GROUND ("Scars of Attitude"), but mostly SWITCHTENSE splits the difference between HATESPHERE and DEW-SCENTED.
Although SWITCHTENSE suffers from an affliction similar to HATESPHERE in that both acts rarely get over the songwriting hump and leave an indelible mental mark, tracks like "Faceoff" and a few others show promise. SWITCHTENSE do leave numerous other marks, mostly those of the bruised and broken variety. The new full-length is hard as nails and presents no real barriers to an enjoyably violent listening experience. The main issue of note is that the new long player doesn't move SWITCHTENSE any closer to the pack leaders. Be that as it may, few would find reason to run for the "stop" button when this one is blasting at full volume.