Released: 2007, Dockyard 1
You know, it's really quite convenient for a reviewer when the contents of an album can be summed up succinctly by the two-word title of that album. So danke schön to Germany's Abandoned for making my job a bit easier with the release of 2007's THRASH YOU!, followup to last year's debut full-length THRASH NOTES. Abandoned play...surprise, surprise...thrash metal, but what may be considered a bit of a twist is the fact their primary influences are not the thrash titans of their homeland like Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction, but rather the Bay Area thrash bands of the 80's - particularly Slayer, Exodus, and Testament but with a few touches of Heathen and an occasional nod to the early days of Megadeth and Metallica here and there. While a definite improvement over the debut, THRASH YOU! unfortunately offers the listener nothing more than a halfway-decent mimicry of their influences with a glaring weakness in the vocal department that cannot be overlooked.
Musically, a majority of the songs on here are at least 'good,' though nothing really attains the level of 'great.' After the obligatory intro track, "Visions Of Death" kicks off with a barrage of solid riffs and some well-done guitar leads. "We Are Hell" has a cool hammering intro and some nice Exodus-style gallop riffs, "Sands Of Time" has some neat harmonic guitar work in the style of Slayer's slower tracks and a shout-along chorus, and "Feel The Fire" is a mindlessly-fun thrash-stomp in the vein of early-80's Metallica and Exodus. (Side note: they really need to stop reusing classic song titles...I mean, come on, guys..."Feel The Fire?" "In Search Of Sanity?") There are also a couple interesting little bits of experimentation, like the short instrumental "Repentance," which showcases some nice minor-key melodic composition but unfortunately cuts off far too quickly to be considered a really good interlude, and closer "V.O.D. Reprise," which presents a portion of the album opener in a surprisingly good-sounding acoustic format. Trouble is, even the better tracks aren't really all that memorable, nor are they all that distinguishable from one another - even the best songs lack any real musical hooks, and the production, while clear and well-balanced instrumentally, seems overprocessed and sterilized, dulling down any edge the group possesses. The other big problem is vocalist Eric Kaldschmidt, who seems to be holding back in his vocal aggression level and trying way too hard to add melodic elements to his delivery. When he does that (far more frequently than he should), he sounds flat-out awful, partially due to his strong German accent and partially due to the fact he sounds like he's got his nostrils pinched together. A more aggressive, raw style would definitely work better for him. Throughout multiple spins of the disc, I kept getting the feeling they're the kind of band who works much, much better in a live setting.
THRASH YOU! does show signs of improvement and the potential for Abandoned to join the ranks of the elite, but until they manage to step out from beneath the shadows of their influences and forge their own style, they'll remain mired in mediocrity. Recommended only for thrashaholics who can't get enough of their particular brand of venom.