Good old thrash metal fun
Shallow Ground is one of those bands that have gone somewhat unnoticed. Formed in 1994 they didn’t seem to have the right timing on their side. Metal – especially the old-school thrash metal version that Shallow Ground play – was on a massive downhill slide. So even before they could release a first record the band was put on hold. Back in 2009 the band was revived and released their first EP in 2010, followed by their first full-length album ‘The End Of Everything’ in 2013. Their music seems to hit the nerve of the New Wave of Old School Thrash Metal and earned them good reviews from all around the globe. Shallow Ground now follow-up with their second full-length album ‘Embrace Your Fury’.
Right from the start it is obvious what the listener is in for. The album opener ‘Once Again’ starts with a shredding thrash metal riff that could have been on Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’. The production is powerful and modern yet stays raw and has that live feeling to it. The song smashes through almost 6 minutes with neck-breaking speed and has all the trademarks of old school thrash metal. Lyrically the track is an ode to the circle pit which points into the direction of the whole album: This is good old metal fun.
The remaining 7 songs on the album (the ninth track ‘Eye Of The Storm’ is an acoustic interlude) keep up the pace. The opener is followed by ‘Khan’ which is another neck-breaker. ‘Brace For Impact’ then changes the tone slightly and is a Slayer-orientated song. And here comes the only critic I really have. ‘Brace For Impact’ is just a tad too close to Slayer’s ‘Criminally Insane’.
After the first half of the album the acoustic ‘Eye Of The Storm’ brings a well-deserved short break before the band heads back into what they do best – high speed thrash metal – with ‘F.I.U’ and Class Warfare’. ‘Looking Glass’ is then a thrash metal ballad before Shallow Ground push down the pedal again for the grand finale ‘Slayer Of The Gods’.
Overall ‘Embrace Your Fury’ is a strong album. I can hear all the negative-minded critics say that it doesn’t offer anything new and too often stays too close to the genre legends. Guess what, thrash metal is more than 30 years old now, a truly mature music genre where everything has been said in one way or another. However, thumbs up for Shallow Ground to go out there, put the music that we all love in a modern context and have fun with it. And this is what it is all about: going to a metal show, having a few drinks with your friends and behaving like a maniac. Shallow Ground’s ‘Embrace Your Fury’ is the perfect backdrop for that.
8 of 10