Released: 2015, eOne Music
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Does the world really need another re-thrash band? Probably not. But they do just keep right on coming, even though the wave of revivalism seemed to have crested a while back.
St. Louis quartet Black Fast have actually been kicking around for a few years now, having independently released an EP and a full-length in 2011 and 2013, respectively. But they finally scored a label deal last year and thus here we are with their second album, Terms Of Surrender, which was just issued on eOne Music.
To their credit, the band do a better job than most at taking the rudiments of vintage thrash and at least trying to put their own spin on it instead of merely aping old Exodus or Nuclear Assault. Despite coming out of the gate with “The Keep” and its clipped Megadethy riffing and chugging pace, Black Fast quickly take things in a more blackened direction, a la Skeletonwitch, with the tremolo-y hue of “To Propagate The Void.” It’s an effect they keep going back to, and is something they do with some aplomb on tracks like “I Conspire” and “Vacuous Idol.”
The blackened splashes bring some welcome depth to Black Fast’s full-frontal delivery, as does the sensational soloing and clever flourishes of guitarist Trevor Johanson. This is a band that, with momentary exceptions like the intro and outro to “The Coming Swarm,” essentially travels at one speed – fittingly, fast - and their single-mindedness often comes at the expense of variety.
This is especially true of Aaron Akin’s ragged, atonal shouting, which grows quite tedious over the long haul as his pitch and breathless cadence rarely, if ever, waver. Indeed, most of the album’s more memorable moments come when his mouth is closed.
Hate Eternal’s Erik Rutan gives the album a fairly typical raw, dirty re-thrash production job, but he leaves just enough room for the lead breaks to rise above the din and Ryan Thompson’s fluid basslines to run and rumble underneath for some rhythmic flair. And that’s pretty much the storyline with Terms of Surrender. There is just enough “something extra” here to make it stand out from the ordinary – just not very far.