Released: 2011, SPV
There was so much thrash in the late 80’s that at times it was hard to truly embrace every band. Assassin was one of those bands I never truly embraced on a personal level. Sure I admired and respected them, two solid albums which I bought and enjoyed but judging from their career arc, many other thrash fans felt the same and the band quietly went away for about 15 years. They put out another low-key, independent, album in 2005 called THE CLUB which went under the radar of most Thrash fans, let alone the few remaining, die-hard Assassin fans out there. I heard THE CLUB, it was adequate but not what I wanted. Judging from the response it wasn’t what other thrashers wanted either. It seems the band have given their head a good shake and here we are six years later and the band is going to have another kick at the can.
The album title, BREAKING THE SILENCE rubs me the wrong way, because of the excellent Heathen album of the same name, but the band really are ‘breaking the half-decade of silence’ with this ten-cut album. The band is back on SPV/Steamhammer and Harris Johns is behind the console, those are two additional bonuses. The album cover is good, (some sort of giant kill-cannon on top of a pile of skulls…very Metal) the song-titles are good and the band has a new rhythm section as well. Even before hearing a single note, all things pointed to a very promising album. However, all those components are secondary to the music, song-writing and performances, and fortunately Assassin have delivered the album of their career.
BREAKING THE SILENCE is my favorite Assassin album to date. For one, I feel they have left behind the little hints of hardcore that was a part of their sound previously. I don’t know why but the band had always reminded me of a lower grade Tankard. Those associations are mostly erased despite the bits of humour in the album. The album is fast, heavy, lots and lots of thrash guitar, moreso than the last few. There is some really top-notch soloing on the cut ‘Judas’. Many of the songs ride along with a simple, punchy one-two thrash beat, nice and fast. The whole albums blurs by in a heartbeat. The vocals are still pretty much the same strained, half-spoken, half-singing style that Robert has always used. In other words…great! I’ve always liked the backing gang-vocals and they are here in full force.
It’s really nice to hear the band able to deliver such a strong album so late in their career and I hope it will be the first of many 80’s thrash bands who are reforming and delivering the thrash it takes to compete with all the young retro bands that they once inspired.