When thinking about Texas, you’re likely to picture cowboys and country music, but it’s also the birthplace of thrash band AGGRAVATOR.
After their self-titled 2019 EP which honoured the last works of their original lead guitarist late Jesse Lopez, the thrashers are back with their next EP ‘Unseen Repulsions’. It’s their first release on Empire Records with an outlook on two more albums coming in the future. After this promising label debut expectations will be high for new material to come.
The album starts out with the title track and right from the get-go, it reels you in. The sound is fast and dark. The guys connect riff after riff, barely leaving you any time to catch your breath. Then they slow down a little, mostly to make room for a small solo interlude. The overall mood of the song is quite sinister, which is greatly complemented by Derek Jones‘s distinct vocal style. He sings with a harsher voice than what you’d expect with most thrash singers, but it only makes the whole thing sound angrier and better. They pick up the pace one final time and go for an explosive finish.
Next we move on to ‘Fragmented Identity’. This song continues the mood from before, but leaves more room for some great solo work. While I’d consider it shredding in a way, it’s more melodic than what’s yet to come and a bit tamer. Nonetheless, the leads make it all complete. ‘Searing Gas Decomposition’ ( how I do love these titles !) launches off with a fast and grim sounding solo, immediately setting the tone for the rest of the song. The band uses a great push and pull effect to drive the song forward. This works especially well with drummer Mike Cortes‘s beats. Though I’m not that big a fan of the “sound” of the drumkit itself, the great playing makes up for all of this and it does fit in really well in the mix, so this might just be me.
‘Infinite War‘ has more of an intermediate tempo, which is none the less heavy for it though. A powerful palm muted riff sets the scene and really draws you to it. Enter the vocals, raw as ever. The songs goes on with its riff and suddenly, here we go. The speed is picked up and everything takes a huge leap forward. Again, this is the same push and pull effect which also makes the other songs so interesting to listen to. The end is tipped of with a dissonant guitar solo, a bit reminiscent of Kerry King‘s work.
Right from the start ‘Bounty Hunter‘ gives you the feeling that the ’80s are back, in an angry way. The riffs of this song are a stylistic break from what has come before, but it certainly is an interesting turn of events. It really reminds me of that specific sound a lot of bands had back in the day, but it’s got more power to it. This stands out especially with the harsh vocal style. The solo keeps in line with this and is a great example of this kind of “metal blues pentatonic” stuff.
The last song on the tracklist is ‘Seven Swords‘. Aggravator immediately grabs your attention with the introductionary drum fill. When doesn’t something like that work? The guitars come in hard and fast before transitioning into a more groovy riff. The vocals follow this change and the accents in both singing and the guitars go together greatly. Building up to the solo, the guys pick up the pace again and launch into it. Up comes a blistering array of notes where you don’t know what’s being thrown at you. After the last verse the album comes to an abrupt end with one delicious, last solo. Certainly leaving you wanting for more.
Release date : April 16, 2021
Label : Empire Records
- Unseen Repulsions
- Fragmented Identity
- Searing Gas Decomposition
- Infinite War
- Bounty Hunter
- Seven Swords