Album Review: Terrifier – Trample The Weak, Devour The Dead
Reviewed by Sam Jones
When I saw Terrifier were back with a new record, I absolutely jumped on the chance to review it for myself. These Canadians have in fact been around much longer than you’d think, having formed in 2003 under their first name of Skull Hammer, releasing a Demo and studio record which, following a name change in 2012, was re-released under the new moniker of Terrifier. An EP and Split soon followed however, by 2017, the band were ready to release their first album truly recorded in the name of Terrifier, which wound up becoming Weapons Of Thrash Destruction. A corny title it may be, it proved nonetheless to be an exemplary release and launched the band amidst the jewels of the new wave of thrash metal. It’s been a few years since then and the band have been quiet, but only recently have Terrifier announced their intentions for a follow up. With a title like Trample The Wake, Devour The Dead, it’s evident the band aren’t looking to play around and wish to make this as worthwhile a thrash release as they can manage. I was ecstatic to see just what the band had pulled off this time round.
When I say this album is fast, I’m not putting it lightly, Terrifier play thrash to the fullest extent. Right from the opening seconds of this record, the band are pulling no punches as they seemingly wish to make up for lost time between now and their last studio release. It isn’t merely down to how quickly their guitarist is able to strum nor how rapid the riffs are played as; the band manage to merge numerous instrumental elements together to create a zippered effect whereby were any individual component removed from the songwriting of what you may be experiencing at the present minute, the song in question would break down and we’d be left with a lesser variation of that track. Granted, this isn’t always the case throughout the album; the band give plenty of time to let each of their instrumental and vocal aspects play out for the spotlight as is rightly earned, yet the band have somehow been able to craft moments where it blends together to create a ripping vortex that you can’t help but buy into, since the fusion of all such elements isn’t clean. It’s rough and gritty with swathes of blood and blade flowing through its aesthetic.
One particular aspect of this I found especially endearing, and crucial, to the songwriting, was actually the drumming. This being a modern thrash act we know effectively what we’ll be on the receiving end of but, with that said, Terrifier throw in much more for us to become on board with this record. The drumming is essential in crafting that meticulously ruthless thrash attack that the band became so synonymous for originally. It’s the first time in a while I’ve encountered blast beats and this scope of merciless drumming in a thrash record; in a time when thrash records can be a dime a dozen, Terrifier stand out from the crowd as a band that aren’t afraid to push things out into the deep end, letting go of your hands completely as they subject you to all the punishment they seem capable of dishing out. It’s all the more effective therefore, that the drums are mixed in well alongside the rest of the band’s performance. Riffs and drums work in tandem with each other so there’s no one-upping the other in production or clarity.
It continues to impress me how competently Terrifier manage to write riffs and songs that feel completely natural in their progression. First of all, the band write riffs that are more than your rudimentary chords and fast strumming; the band’s songwriting is composed of far more than this alone, as their riffs evolve, quicken, or slow down for a chunkier and more grounded piece of songwriting. Additionally, the main crux of their riffs, regardless of track, is more technical than I believe people give them credit for. Imagining how these riffs are performed mentally, one can picture their hands and fingers going all across their fretboards for there are few instances where the riffs wane in their excitement. The band maintain a level of intensity and energy across the record that is difficult to pull off, and these riffs are easily half that reason why. While unpredictability isn’t necessarily an element Terrifier play with, we are often left aghast as to where their songwriting is headed owing to the rapidly changing nature their songwriting purports.
Thrash is often typified with shorter, faster pieces that make up the bulk of the record; that’s sometimes why many classic thrash albums are usually of a short duration. Now, this record doesn’t run for long, at under forty minutes this is a relatively straightforward listen, especially since if you’re a longtime fan this record will prove to be a brisk and effortlessly enjoyable listen. But Terrifier then throw in some longer tracks, towards the six minute mark, that feel to be the band’s shining moments as they really experiment and delve into what they can do to engage their audiences whilst, at the same time, see how their songwriting can branch out to craft thrash that’s more than your expected affair. By this manner, Terrifier ensure we’re enthralled by the assault the band deliver on while also broadening our expectations on what a Terrifier album can be. Personally, it’s one of the stronger thrash records I’ve heard in some time that’s able to be mature in its composing and savage in its evisceration.
In conclusion, Trample The Weak, Devour The Dead is a genuinely steamrolling performance that will remind audiences as to why Terrifier became such an endearing force when their Weapons Of Thrash Destruction originally released. These guys have an inherent understanding as to what constitutes as quality thrash songwriting, and their innate performances only reinforces that they’re not here solely for aesthetic reasons alone. Terrifier clearly believe fully in the idea of thrash metal, for you can hear their passions and love for this style play out in droves, whether it’s via developed riffs, sustained cries from the vocals or how their songwriting can blend everything together with a rough edge to boot. I thoroughly enjoyed this album and I believe it’s going to really turn heads once it comes out. A highly recommended record for sure.