Originally reviewed here.
I have seen a lot of complaints that all of the thrash metal released today is just bands copying what has been done by the big-name bands of the 1980's, in particular the Big Four. This is simply not true. Obviously there is the wave of bands from the United States and England that are trying to recapture past glories of the Bay Area scene. Of course there were other scenes in the 1980's, scenes that have been largely ignored by newer thrash metal bands, for some unknown reason.
Enter Japan's Fastkill, a band clearly influenced by the much more chaotic, and yes, bestial, thrash metal bands of the 1980's. We are talking clear Slayer, Destruction, and Kreator worship here. Japan has produced a few bands like this, with King's-Evil being another name.
The cover art leaves no doubts that the music contained therein is going to be fast, intense, and destructive as all hell. And Fastkill definitely delivers on those promises. With rapid-fire riffing, jackhammer-drumming, and the banshee-like shrieks of frontman Toshio Komori, this is a total maelstrom of pure, unadulterated thrash metal. The speed and intensity of the riffing is reminiscent of the early records of the aforementioned Slayer and the Teutonic thrash wave. The songs are all short and lightning-fast with the longest track being just under four minutes and nothing else coming close. The brevity of the songs and the take-no-prisoners, constant and fast riffing leaves the listener gasping for breath, their head reeling from the sonic assault. It's a good thing, really.
The first couple of times I listened to this, I really did not care for the vocals. They are high-pitched and often resemble the whooping of birds the way they emerge out of the music. Komori does do the high-pitched Araya-esque blood-curdling scream well. After a couple of listens, I got used to his voice and it does not bother me nearly as much as it did early on.
This is a punishing and brutal thrash attack. An impressive tribute to the much more chaotic sounds of early thrash metal away from the Bay Area.