Released: 2017, Scarlet Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
National Suicide have returned with a brand new album for 2017, Massacre Elite. The band hailing from Trento, Italy, are one of the brightest stars in the modern thrash scene, and this new offering while impressive, doesn’t answer some of the criticisms from their previous album Another Round, namely that while it had some truly brilliant instrumentals, vocals, and lyrics, it lacked any innovation. Their old school style was too old-school. With Massacre Elite, National Suicide have stepped up their game technically, but still, haven’t put their own stamp on the genre, and while I don’t think they are fully there yet, they do look like they’re only going to keep getting better. If they start trying to define the genre, instead of letting the genre define them, they have the potential to go a long way.
Opening the album is Death Roll. The standout feature of this track is the vocals of front man Stefano Mini. The guy has such style that you think even the old guard of thrash must be envious of him. His voice has so much power and depth that it just sounds amazing to listen to. The song gallops along nicely, and there is some fantastic guitar work in the middle from Tiziano Campagna and Daniele Valle. Sounding crisp and sharp, this track is a perfect opener, demonstrating just how good the band can be.
The album moves along into I’m Not A Zombie (Anymore), and the standard doesn’t drop, the pace keeps up its breakneck speed and the vocals remain outstanding. It’s still got that brilliant old school thrash sound that National Suicide are known for, and it’s another solid track which again shows how technically superior this album is to Another Round.
This outstanding opening is followed by the title track Massacre Elite, a song where they do exactly what their fans have been hoping for and try something new. Tiz’s guitars ring out as the band adds a new dynamic to their sound with some quite good backing vocals. Tiz’s solo in the middle sounds like Zeus and Thor, the gods of thunder, doing battle and is absolutely glorious to listen to, the only negative about the song is that in places it sounds very similar to the first two tracks, but it is still a brilliant song.
The headbanging pace keeps going with stand-out tracks like Trouble Ahead, Pisshead, Unfit For The Army and What D’you Mean By Metal? Each song has its own strengths and weakness, but a key weakness all the songs share is how alike they sound, to the point you can barely tell where one song ends and the next begins.
Trouble Ahead sounds like something torn straight from the 1980’s thrash metal scene, more so than any other track on the album. If this had come out in the 80’s it probably would have won the band a lot of good publicity in the magazines of the day. It’s a good listen to boot, with the whole band continuing to show how much they have improved since their last album.
With Unfit for the Army there is a slight shift in sound, which is frankly a welcome change at this point. Again, the band keeps that sharp, crisp sound coming at you at the same frenetic pace with both Eam Revello on drums and both guitarists showing here how good they are with some very nice work.
The album finishes on a high note with the impressive What D’you Mean by Metal? There’s nothing overly unique about it, it is just the apotheosis of what National Suicide are. Everything is as good as it can be. It keeps up the fast tempo that has been present throughout the whole album.
It’s a very impressive album, and hopefully, they can continue to build on their successes and really stamp their name on the genre. To fit 9 songs into just 36 minutes, the album never slows or pauses for a second, it just hits you with all the force of a freight train and keeps on going. The only major problem they have is the same problem that Another Round had - too much of the same. If they can be a little more innovative in the future, they’ll be a big thing for years to come. That said, it is still an album more than worth your time, especially with a crazy front man like Stefano Mini screaming into your ears the whole time. He deserves a lot of credit for his performances on this album.
National Suicide is one of the best thrash metal bands around right now, and I predict more and even better things from them sooner rather than later. It’s not just an album closer that drops away into nothingness it still keeps the fast pace and tempo that has been present throughout the whole album it’s a very impressive album and something that hopefully now the band has made the step up that they have needed to do they can build on this in the future National Suicide are one of the best up and coming thrash bands around right now watch this space I predict more big things for them sooner rather than later.
Reviewed By Luke Smith