A few years ago I remember perusing the internet in search of new thrash metal bands. I was looking for a more fun and looser alternative to the ever so serious classics like Kreator or Exodus. Naturally I turned to the crossover thrash department, digging through your usual Municipal Wastes or Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, only to stumble upon Gama Bomb‘s Citizen Brain. Now this was more to the liking of this battle jacket rocking geek. Man, I was immediately hooked. These Irish thrashers did not just put out some of the best metal I had ever heard, but they combined it with innumerable references to old school video games, comic books, horror and sci-fi movies. In short, the shit I grew up with, and still love to date. What’s more, they bring it with such an infectuous sense of humour. They have released four albums since then, and haven’t let me down so far. I definitely wanted to be the one to review their latest record entitled Speed Between the Lines, released on AFM Records on October 12.
Musically, while they haven’t changed all that much, Gama Bomb‘s typical blend of crossover thrash and speed metal is still fun as hell. We are once more treated to blazing drum patterns, shredding riffs and solos that will test your best air guitar skills. Grab your 80s style deck and roll on over to your local skate park where Alt Reich sends your down your favourite ramp. But not before chuggin’ a couple of brewskis and inverting your Suicidal Tendencies cap. A Hanging or R.I.P. U, among others are more in line with the speed genre, and will make your pants hold on to that bullet belt for dear life. The heavy metal influence is a little more prominent this time, and a welcome variation if you ask me. Especially in the vocal department where frontman Philly Byrne truly shines, still rocking his usual fast vocals while switching it up with more Judas Priest-like falsettos. Check out Give Me Leather or Faceblaster and tell me I’m wrong.
The subject matter is the usual one. As mentioned before, humouristic pop-culture references are plentiful here. Take, if you will, Kurt Russell, the album’s 10th track, which centers around paying tribute to, you’ve guessed it, legendary actor Kurt Russell. Geeky good times aside, Gama Bomb still have a penchant for social commentary, criticizing current events with a sharp and witty sense of humour. We wouldn’t be talking thrash metal otherwise. If those themes are more to your liking, be sure to turn your attention Alt Reich, We R Going 2 Eat U, or the more straightforwardly titled track World Gone to Hell.
Although Gama Bomb‘s formula has never much deviated, they also never disappoint. Thus Speed Between the Lines is one fun-as-hell thrash metal record, which I will definitely rock out to with my fellow metal geeks.
Release Date: October 12th, 2018
Label: AFM Records
1. Give Me Leather
2. A Hanging
4. Bring Out the Monster
5. R.I.P. U
7. Alt Reich
8. Stay Rotten
9. We R Going 2 Eat U
10. Kurt Russell
11. World Gone to Hell