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(Metal Blade)
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scott adams


Since it’s late noughties reinvention, during which time both new bands and old alike seemed to reach an accord on what ‘modern thrash’ should sound like, Thrash Metal has been teetering on the verge of collapsing under its own weight as wave after wave of bands rush forward to give the world their take on one of Metal’s most storied – and best – genres.

It’s easy to become jaded by all this, with the task of actually finding new bands with some sort of X factor – or at the very least having some half decent material – getting harder by the day, which really makes Proliferation, the second album from Melbourne thrashers Harlott something of a jewel in the rough.

Of course, there’s nothing here you haven’t heard before, but the sheer, unadulterated élan with which the band – especially vocalist/guitarist Andy Hudson – go about their business is a joy to behold.

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Everything here sounds so right, so unforced, that you get the idea these blokes really believe they were born to play this stuff. If that means they sound a bit like their idols now and again – more than a bit on the coruscating restless, actually – then so be it.

Although the nods to Slayer, Testament and Exodus are obvious, there’s a strong vein of Brit Thrash exponents such as Xentrix and Onslaught running through the material too, while drummer Tim Joyce’s refreshing reluctance to swamp everything in barrages of double kick drum also gives the material a point of difference from most of the identikit thrash currently plying their trade.

Both of these points are good reasons whilst you’ll enjoy ‘Proliferation’ perhaps a bit more than similar releases in the arena at the moment.

The band are at their best when operating at high speed – when they slow down they just don’t have the same impact – and when they just hit a groove and let the solos fly. ‘Lord of War’ is absolutely thunderous, pitching wave after wave of crushing riffage, unhinged vocals and battering drumming at your ears in a synchronised attempt to render your cerebral cortex useless, while the juggernaut raging of ‘Civil Unrest’ will have thrashers of a certain age salivating at the sheer memory-jogging mayhemic grandeur of it all. This truly is a trip down memory lane worth taking.

Within thrash’s tight parameters it’s hard to remember a band not hailing from the salad days of the genre who operate with quite as much joi de vivre and lowdown killing power as Harlott, and in ‘Proliferation’ they’ve come up with one of the finest expositions of ‘modern thrash I’ve heard in a long, long time. Buy or die!

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