Polish band Horrorscope have unleashed their fourth full-length album since their 1999 debut, and if you somehow can\’t tell by the fact the band moniker is taken from a classic OverKill album title (if you thought of Eve 6\’s album with the same title instead, you\’re probably at the wrong review site), the music they play is no-bullshit straight-ahead thrash metal. Since their foundation by former Disonance member Lech Śmiechowicz in 1996, the band has gone through numerous lineup changes but the two participants most responsible for their sound – Śmiechowicz and vocalist Adam Bryłka – have stuck together, churning out brutal midtempo riff after whiplash-inducing riff, occasionally experimenting stylistically a bit here and there but never straying too far from their core of pummeling modern thrash.
Production on EVOKING DEMONS, like that on its 2005 predecessor THE CRUSHING DESIGN, is exceptionally clear and heavy, a perfect vehicle for their 44-minute rhythmic assault. The first and most obvious comparison, if you\’re looking for a point of reference, is THE GATHERING-era Testament. In fact, Bryłka sounds very much like a Polish version of Chuck Billy in terms of aggressive roars, near-deathgrowls, and clean-vocal passages…often-times all in the same song. Guitar leads are fret-burning shred attacks and the drumming is tight and rife with some great fills and rolls. The real problem I have with this album is the fact that while there isn\’t a single bad song on the album, there isn\’t anything that really particularly stands out, either. All the original tracks just kind of blend together into one bludgeoning sledgehammer of thrashy goodness, but at the end of two play-throughs I can\’t really think of anything exceptionally memorable. I know I enjoyed the hell out of both of those listens while they were running, but I doubt I could identify any particular song as something I\’d put on my \”favorites\” playing list. I should point out the bonus cover version of Mercyful Fate\’s classic \”Evil\” is musically awesome (the renditions of the Sherman / Denner leads are great!) but some listeners may find Bryłka\’s vocals a bit hard to take when comparing them to those of the King.
Innovative? No. An instant classic? Nope. Anything you\’ve never heard before? Not really, not if you know your latter-day Testament or early albums from The Haunted. But for the thrashaholic, as far as getting your skull moving in sinusoidal motion and your fingers autonomically curling into the devil horns goes, EVOKING DEMONS is a guilty-pleasure vertebrae-dislocating success.
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