Released: 2014, Earthquake Terror Noise Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
You've got admire the audacity and abandon of old-school Italian thrashers Sofisticator. Their sheer moxie and don't-give-a-fuckedness help make up for a lot of their shortcomings – notably a seemingly tenuous command of English, which might explain the nonsensical title of their 2012 debut Camping The Vein or the Z-grade cheese of their latest, Death By Zapping; crass humor, as evidenced by the Camping ditty “Total Flatulence War (Beans Attack);” and unabashedly retro sound.
Indeed, these guys might have more appropriately called themselves “Unsofisticator,” but the irony is probably part of the joke. Regardless, and despite all this, there's a certain charm to Sofisticator, and these guys are definitely no slouches when it comes to throwback thrash.
Zapping has something a TV theme running through it that starts with a piss-take of the intro to Iron Maiden's seemingly unfuckwithable “Number of the Beast” and makes it's way through the likes of “Channel 666,” “OK, The Price Is Right,” “Walker Texas Thrasher” - now that's actually hilarious! – and “Miracle Blade.” Not exactly sure what to make of “Rot, Wash & Roll” - and frontman Disossator's rambling cadence only makes it that much tougher – but that's probably just as well.
The music is really Sofisticator's strong suit anyway. Recalling very early Destruction, Exodus, Overkill and Venom - in Disossator's Cronos-like blather – with a hint of vintage Iron Maiden thanks to some crafty twin guitar leads and Atomik Bahnhof's very limber bass lines, the band are obviously well schooled in techniques of the masters and mix them all together with admirable aplomb.
Their thrash bluster is freewheeling, roughshod but still quite ballsy and bristling with boundless energy that ride Popi and Don Hammier's buzz-sawing guitars. And while their single-minded approach makes the material all start to blend together after a fashion, “Walter Texas Thrasher” offers some memorable hooks, as does the moody and much slower “Dark Side of Luna Park.” “M.C.S.” has a nice Nuclear Assault-ness to it, again from Bahnhof's pulsing bass.
Death By Zapping is certainly a guilty pleasure, something you know is no good for you but will keep you listening anyway. It's rude, crude and often ridiculous, but Sofisticator don't pretend – or even seem to aspire - to be anything else. And if they're cool with that, you should be too.