Released: 2013, Punishment 18
It's Dec 31st, 2013, as I write this and I'm vacationing near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, hometown of Untimely Demise. I felt this is a good a time and place as any to write my very last review of 2013 (my 213th review of 2013 if you are keeping track at home) and squeeze in one last great record for the year. SYSTEMATIC ERADICATION has been popping up on a number of Year End lists. It doesn't seem like three years since CITY OF STEEL was released in the fall of 2010, but here we are! In my review for CITY OF STEEL I joked that Saskatoon was the CITY OF ICE and I'm not joking as I'm still housebound with a temperature of -38oC when I woke up this morning. I now understand why Untimely Demise is so good, they are forced to stay inside, practice hard and move their fingers fast to stay warm! Recorded in the summer of 2012 it took too long to get to market but you can't rush quality.
There have been a couple of changes in the past few years, the band is now on the Punishment18 label whose moniker brings to mind a blend of the Megadeth tracks, the opening one-two punch from RUST IN PEACE, 'Holy Wars...The Punishment Due' and 'Hangar 18'. It's a perfect fit for the classic era Megadeth tinged sound of Untimely Demise. More importantly the band is now a quartet with the Cuthbertson brothers recently dropping drummer Scott in favour of Cory Thomas, although it is Scott on the album. They also added Sam Martz on lead guitar. The jump to a twin guitar attack has filled out the bands sound a little bit more.
Some things are the high level of quality and the support team. Glen Drover is still helping the guys with production duties and Ed Repka got tapped for another great album cover. The CD booklet is nicely presented with lyrics, pictures and the band and label put together a pro package. The short-ish, eight track album is loaded with pure thrash and above average lyrics too. Lead vocalist, Matt has a great vocal tone, channeling a mix of all three Exodus singers at once presenting takes of warriors, pirates, prison breaks and 'The Last Guildsman', which, if I am interpreting the lyrics correctly, are a tribute to deceased and legendary guitar maker, Les Paul.
Thrash rules the day on SYSTEMATIC ERADICATION. No ballads. No joke tunes. No cover tunes. Just heads-down, balls-out, thrash from the opening note. I might suggest that the band now has a slightly more refined or 'mature' sound (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean) but overall the songs are a bit more tightly written, and even a shade faster. As I mentioned in my intro there is a reason why this album is getting international attention by fans and critics alike. Thrash fans can do wrong by buying this and submitting their ears to a systematic eradication.