Released: 2006, Witches Brew
Thrash metal as a sub genre is bound to high intensity songs and requires a certain amount of attitude. Bands that can’t stick to the those two components are rarely worth talking about, at least within the thrash metal world so if you want to make your mark playing thrash, don’t let up, even for an instant.
Northern Ireland’s Gama Bomb has clearly been paying attention to the thrash metal bands that came before them. Their style is a take on 80’s thrash metal, fairly simple and straightforward, not unlike the original thrash metal movement from the early 80’s while they aren’t afraid to bring out a few melodic touches here and there to spice things. Lots of simple chugging, gang vocals, attitude soaked vocals, accenting drums, double bass etc. etc. Everything one has come to associate with thrash but it has those key ingredients mentioned earlier, there’s a bit of that old attitude here, not to mention never letting up. Phillip Byrne as a vocalist is reminiscent of a Paul Baloff, more attitude than talent, and don’t take that as a negative since it’s better to be able to express your idea than to merely sing well. The production is about standard for a more “underground” release, though it could stand up against any classic production, though the vocals take up a bit too much room in the mix.
The album starts thrashing from the get go in “Zombie Creeping Flesh” and the band quickly show their fangs, heavy, crunching riffs that surprisingly lead into some dual melodies before the vocals kick in and the song hits those thrash riffs again. The album flows through high quality thrash like “Steel Teeth (The Metal Jaw)” (gang vocal heaven) to “Fortified Zone” (check out that kickin’ chorus riff) to “Nuke the Skeets” (short, but still fun!). The album never lets up and continually brings the thrash to the table. The album reminds me of the early New York thrash scene, namely (early) Overkill and Nuclear Assault, some riffs sounding vaguely similar to some of the ones you might hear on Overkill’s “Taking Over”. Yet while the album may remind one of certain bands or moments, it never feels like a direct rip off, quite possibly due to the enthusiasm with which the band plays. Sometimes that’s all it takes, a band with their heart in the right place to do a style justice, regardless of originality or whether they “push the boundaries”.
Any thrash fan can’t go wrong with Gama Bomb. No matter what you may think of the modern thrash scene, Gama Bomb won’t let you down if you still believe thrash metal in the 80’s was the truest the sound could ever be.