Thrash metal, it’s sad to say, has had its day in the sun. With the exception of a few contemporaries – Havok being the prime example – the genre is frankly, on its arse. Though Megadeth’s 2012 release, Endgame, was a stunning return to form, the list of great modern thrash records is sparse. Testament, Metallica and Kreator have all done decent jobs recently, but the genre suffers from the curse of limiting itself to what is considered “true-thrash”, and any attempts to stray outside of the guidelines invokes furore from a vocal section of the fanbase – see the response to The Black Album, and say no more. Thrash is a tired beast, and there a few bands able to breathe life into the old dog. With the release of their debut album, Inferno aren’t offering that metaphorical canine mouth-to-mouth.
Avaricia opens with an acoustic line whose tone is stolen straight from One – not that that’s a bad thing – before leaping into the tremolo picked E-string that has defined thrash metal since the days of old. Again, this is not a point of criticism, but simply a fact that sets the whole affair out to be reasonably uninspired.
Juan Manuel León’s vocals echo Chaos A.D.-era Max Cavalera, and the band appear to realise this on the second track Cien Mil Golpes, which is decidedly more Sepultura than the previous Slayer-esque song. The musicianship is undeniably impressive, offering the first blistering guitar solo of the album, as well as a deliciously organ-rumbling bass line courtesy of Carlos Bermejo. This brings us to the album’s greatest triumph; production. The quality of recording lead by the band’s own Ángel “Koto” Bermúdez, and mastering job done by Cristian Olivares, have produced a quintessentially thrash sounding record – a feat that many of the most established bands in the genre still seem often unable to accomplish.
From track three, Asesino, onwards, the record devolves into Slayer worship. This might not immediately sound like a critique, but given that even Slayer are bad at being Slayer nowadays, the last thing the world needs is another band falling short of the astronomical heights set by the Show No Mercy – Divine Intervention run of flawless, unbridled aggression. This album will certainly satisfy fans of by-the-numbers thrash baying for another Master of Puppets, but offers little excitement, and isn’t going to be a great entry point for newcomers to the genre.