JOE THRASHER, Metal Forces (2009, self-released)
Love it. Just endearingly dumb, this silly skull grins madly under a dorky logo. The black and red simplicity makes it look like some NWOBHM 7 inch. Very much looks like the skull of famous DC comics villain the Joker, if he were to be de-fleshed…particularly the ’50s/’60s era one, if we’re being really nerdy.
Plus points for naming this album after the great UK metal magazine of yore. Onslaught had their “Metal Forces” song decades ago, but Joe Thrasher probably doesn’t know that, or maybe they just don’t care. What do we have here? We have a group of Canadians hellbent on playing the strictest interpretation of ’80s thrash possible. They’ve studied up on their countrymen, as lots of this album reminds of Canuck thrashers like Razor and Piledriver. The playing is fine, the riffing and solos are vice-tight, so it does the requisite thrash thing there. The vocals are a not-very-vicious snarl that’s like Vince Neil trying to do thrash, or Steve Souza trying to do Vince Neil. At just under 27 minutes, these nine songs blaze by without much to distinguish one from the other. They all thrash like hell, though every now and then they churn along in a mid-paced bore (“The March”). “The March” is worse than the worst Manowar (and I like Manowar, for the most part). The lyrics are dumb as fuck. This would have gone mostly unnoticed on an old label like Mean Machine or New Renaissance back in the day, so it sure as shit doesn’t measure up now.
— Friar Wagner