Of all the numerous subgenres of metal, thrash is probably the one enjoying the biggest resurgence. The so called new wave of thrash metal has been in full swing for years now, and despite producing some generic metal by numbers, it has also spawned the likes of Game Over who have just released their latest album, Crimes Against Reality.
The band wear their influences on their sleeves, you can hear the Bay Area influence from the start. However, instead of falling back on the crutch of blast beat laden drums and loading every riff with a low chugging E, Game Over explore their chosen genre with a bit more depth.
After the required dramatic intro, Crimes Against Reality properly opens with 33 Park Street. It’s a song that is destined to set the circle pits off as a set opener and is a song that features a very brief riff that reminds me of Cult of Personality and now I have that stuck in my head.
Neon Maniacs is another that could happily fit into 80s Bay Area era thrash if not for the joys of modern recordings. The Kill ‘Em All style riffs with the big gang vocals is spot on, the vocals even take a slightly Hetfield reminiscent sound at times.
I mentioned the recording sound and how it helps bring the band into the 2010s. While it lacks that very raw edge of the early thrash albums, I for one am more than happy to hear a bit of power in the engine room. I’m excited for the Metallica re-releases as we’ll get a bit of oomph, and here we have oomph. At the same time, it’s not overproduced (again, Metallica, we’re looking at you). The drums and bass are easily audible and add a good kick when you have headphones on, but they don’t turn muddy, a trap which many of Game Over’s peers have sadly fallen into.
From the cover alone you get the feeling of 80s b-movies, and there’s a reflection of this in the music itself. Astral Matter is the main instance of this with the soundtrack style intro and lead melodies that would suit the UFO invasion fleet emerging over the small backwater American town.
Yet it isn’t all Bay Area and B Movies. Track four is a risky move with the often dreaded thrash ballad making an appearance. Thankfully With All That Is Left doesn’t stray into Remember Tomorrow/Fade to Black clone territory, nor does the clean bit turn whiney. Even the word Ballad is a bit of a stretch, but thrash songs that go clean, heavy, clean, fast heavy get called ballads, so here we are.
Another trip away from the Bay Area is Just A Little Victory which is my personal favourite from the album as it has a heavy Annihilator type sound. From the high guitar strikes to the vocal melody it feels like a Jeff Waters composition which is always welcome.
I came into this review expecting generic thrash band #5132, instead I left with the urge to hunt down a patch of their logo for my jacket and the need to hear the rest of their albums. They’re not amazingly unique, but they obviously know their thrash and have managed to innovate instead of mindlessly replicate.
Crimes Against Reality comes out Friday the 15th via Scarlet Records. Follow Game Over on Facebook for more
Follow us on Twitter: @SoundTheCharge_