RIVERGE, Rebirth of Skull (2009, Rock Stakk)
This has to be the worst reincarnation ever: reborn as a cheap-ass Giger knockoff, a crappy biomechanical skull poked full of ugly dripping tubes. At least he’s a little scary-looking, maybe. I wonder what this guy was in his previous life? Probably an accountant or something. An evil accountant.
This is medium-sloppy Japanese thrash that generally fails to impress. It almost has the feel of crossover, but there really isn’t any hardcore in Riverge’s sound – it’s almost like they took their Leeway and Crumbsuckers albums and excised the NY hardcore, leaving only hyperactive caveman thrash. The singer sounds like a Japanese Tom Araya, but not young and awesome Tom. Instead, the Riverge dude sounds like late 00s Tom, a yelling, greying gorilla, now with a thick Japanese accent. That said, Riverge are not exactly a Johnny-come-lately thrash act; they have existed in some form or another since the mid 80s, and some of the songs on Rebirth of Skull, their first actual album, date from the band’s earliest days. Japanese thrash generally doesn’t do much for me, and that’s more or less the case here, although I’ll admit that overall, Riverge are better than most of the other Japanese thrash I’ve heard, and in fact a bit better (if only barely) than most of the rethrash I encounter. Their newer album sounds a bit better, so that’s probably a better starting point for those interested in Riverge, but you’d have to be a pretty serious thrash maniac to bother.
— Friar Johnsen