Released: 2009, Agonia Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Norway has not only become known for its huge and influential black metal scene over the years, but also for a host of other quality metal acts as well - being it power/trad metal (Artch), death metal (Myrkskog) or thrash metal (Blood Tsunami).
What comes to the Norwegian thrash metal scene, out from secrets corners of that country´s capital, raises up a 5-man deathly thrash combo under a Dead Man´s Hand moniker that has been around since 2005, and who recorded only one 3-song demo in 2006.
The Polish label Agonia Records snapped up these Oslo-based thrashers a while ago, and got the band busy for some time to record their debut full-length album for the label, titled THE COMBINATION.
As this promotional copy of the CD states loudly and proudly, Dead Man´s Hand want to thrash to the bitter end, whatever does that mean actually? The music is pretty frenzied thrash, and the band has quite a lot of emphasis in their songs on the aggressive, yet nicely flowing guitar riffs that tend to carry the songs amazingly well and far in my opinion. Heavy riffs after heavy riffs - courtesy of the band´s dynamic guitar duo, Jon and Martin, this pretty tight fivesome pushes forward, getting a nice backfire from Dag´s raspy and harsh vocals (that sound a bit like Alex Blume´s in Ares Kingdom), Jostein´s somewhat earthbound drum parts and Stig´s almost nonexistent bass lines. I don´t know whether it´s Stig also who does the death grunts on this album (there´s no mention about that in the credits though), but that they are really deep growlings altogether and seem to fit well into Dead Man Hand´s sound. Those death grunts - plus some of the downright heavy riffs, also lean them towards death metal´s direction quite a bit, so it´s probably rather reasonable to describe their stuff as a combination of both thrash- and death metal. Obviously 100% thrash they are not despite the ´thrash metal to the bitter end´ text on the back sleeve of this promotional CD.
Despite a few minor flaws here and there within their stuff - especially production-wise, Dead Man´s Hand succeeded in impressing me quite a lot on their debut album. They will probably never hit it big with the type of stuff they do, but they will surely please many underground thrash fans all around the world. And that should be enough, I gotta sincerely believe.