Reviewed: February, 2020
Released: 2020, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Jack Merry
You’d be forgiven for thinking Bonded are a brand-new up-and-coming metal band upon first glance, having just released their debut album; a band with members out to prove themselves. This is not the case, however. Formed in 2018, guitarist Bernd Kost and drummer Markus Freiwald have over 30 years of history deeply rooted in German thrash metal, with stints in Voodoo Cult, Despair, Angel Dust, Kreator and Sodom.
Armed with a huge and impressive arsenal of experience in all things heavy metal, they would go on to complete the lineup with Chris Tsitsis (Suicidal Angels, Destroy Them) on guitar, Marc Hauschild on bass and Ingo Bajonczak (Assassin, New Damage, Lord of Giant) on vocals, whose striking voice and versatility has become a trademark of Bonded. The band’s debut album “Rest in Violence” was produced and engineered by Cornelius Rambadt (Sodom, Disbelief) in Germany.
The band’s history and pedigree is undeniable but would mean nothing if they didn’t have the songs to back it up, and I’m pleased to report Bonded absolutely bring their A-game to the table and every track on offer has something metal-heads will enjoy. ‘Godgiven’ is a thrilling, skull-bashing opener that grabs you by the throat before unleashing growled and powerful vocals and fiery leads. It’s a strong statement of intent, and sets the tone for the record perfectly.
‘Where Silence Reverberates’ erupts in an explosion of furious riffs and pounding thrash drum fills, while ‘Je Suis Charlie’ is an all-out masterclass on modern metal. The rumbling bass locks in perfectly with powerful drums, the vocals are sublime and threatening, and grinding riffs collide with electrifying lead guitar work in the second half of the track to create something truly memorable and awe-inspiring. The production is crystal clear, allowing every instrument to breathe and take the forefront when needed.
Chainsaw riffs are centre-stage in ‘Suit Murderer’ and ‘Arrival’, while closing track ‘The Outer Rim’ takes time to slow down, as least for a minute or two, before launching into a thrilling finale.
‘The Rattle & the Snake’ is one of the best tracks here, reminiscent of Lamb of God with rolling drum patterns and intricate riffing before kicking into gear with growled vocals. The most surprising moment of the entire album is during the bridge section, where a harmonica is played just before the lead solo break. It really knocked me sideways, and felt fresh and very inspired.
It’s all too easy to spot the band’s influences, ranging from Testament and Sodom to Venom, Pantera and Mastodon, but they’ve brought the genre kicking and screaming into the new decade with such ferocity and conviction that it’s impossible to pass them off as just another metal band. Bonded have forged something incredible here with “Rest in Violence” and it’s absolutely worth checking out.
The record had me grinning from ear to ear one minute and banging my head while busting out some air guitar the next. The only real issue I have is that ‘The Beginning of the End’ and ‘To Each His Own’ are weak tracks in comparison to the rest of the album. Although they’re by no means bad, they just don’t gel with me like the rest has.
“Rest in Violence” is one of the finest thrash metal albums you’ll hear all year, especially for a debut, and it’s a blast from beginning to end, only with a slight hiccup in the second half. Stratospheric solos, incredible vocal work and a flawless rhythm section all combine with melodic thrash and it’s a recipe for heavy metal greatness.