Released: 2008, Pulverised Records
Well, who’d have thought that a band comprising of two members of Nocturnal Rites and two members of Persuader would end up playing thrash version 2006-7. Fredrik Mannberg (vocals/guitar) and Nils Eriksson (bass) started Guillotine as a side project to Nocturnal Rites, and they released an album wayyy back in 1997 called UNDER THE GUILLOTINE that was more under the radar than…under the guillotine. Between 1997 and now we saw Nocturnal Rites steadily go down the tube, and now, with thrash waxing at a zenith not seen since 1986, Mannberg and Eriksson decide to release a thrash album. Joining them are Daniel Sundbom (guitars) and Efraim Juntunen (drums) from thrash/power metal band Persuader.
Instead of the current trend of Bay Area worship, the Swedes have decided to exchange denims and hightops for bullet belts and leather jackets. They take their inspiration more from the German school of newer thrash, with Destruction and Kreator their particular idols. In fact, the composite of Destruction and Kreator pretty much describes the brand of thrash that Guillotine play, with a heavy dose of Exodus in certain parts. If you imagine THE ANTICHRIST-era Destruction with ENEMY OF GOD/VIOLENT REVOLUTION production values, you’ve probably got an accurate image of Guillotine. It of course helps that Fredrik Mannberg sounds uncannily like Mille Petrozza, right down to the opening scream/roar in the first seconds of ‘Insane Oppression’.
So. Slickly produced German thrash by a bunch of Swedish power metal musicians? Does it work?
It depends on what you want from your thrash. Mannberg and co. are fantastic musicians, which is pretty much a given. The overall energy is undeniable, albeit with quite a few noticeable weak parts, especially the previously mentioned opening roar on ‘Insane Oppression’, which is embarrassing in its impotence. Anyway, it sounds like thrash, looks like thrash, reads like thrash, so it must be thrash, right?
Yes, it’s just not very interesting thrash, other than the sheer Exodus/Kreator/Destruction worship and the novelty value of having four highly regarded members from two Swedish power metal bands. It’s like porn: you know it’s porn when you see it, but it’s indistinguishable from the nine thousand other cum spattered faces and fake orgasms. That’s not to say that it’s not great while it’s happening – you do the normal thing while it’s going on, i.e. jerk off (for porn) or headbang (for BLOOD MONEY), but at the end, you wipe yourself off and forget about it. And there, I think the porn analogy shall end.
With Eviles and Toxic Holocausts and Earache Records popping up everywhere with Ed Repka artwork, with old bands reuniting to try and achieve the success and acclaim that bypassed them in 1986, the thrash scene is booming – and it’s becoming increasingly harder to stand out. Guillotine have tried to worship the best, and probably have succeeded on their own terms. Get BLOOD MONEY if you like your thrash fast and compelling with good production and sound, but your search for originality will not end with Guillotine.