Founded by Anaal Nathrakh live guitarist Paul Harrington and born of a love of all things thrash, Danmaku also features Stu Pendergast (Hospital Of Death) and Mike Pilat (ex-The Ocean) – the pedigree’s all there, then. Erring to the more groove-based side of thrash, as reigned over for so long by Sacred Reich, Turn Up The Gas does the business with great style.
Launching straight into ‘Void Messiah’, there’s little room for doubt about what you’re in for from the rest of this album – tight, muscular riffing is propelled along by solid drumming and laced with Pilat’s tuneful roar. There’s a definite air of the aforementioned kings of groove-thrash throughout in the way the guitars and drums lock together but Danmaku are far from being a one-trick-pony. Flashes of hardcore influence creep into the vocals as the record progresses (far from out of place, if you know your thrash history!), and the guitars take on a more Death-ly tone here and there (‘Times Of Ignorance’ has some good examples scattered between its pounding verses and choruses), all the while cranking the pace up and up until the explosive penultimate track ‘Walk The Whole Parade’.
Album-closer ‘As We Lament’ backs off the throttle in favour of a more measured approach – the arrangement is expansive, the riffing more chordal yet no less aggressive in tone, the vocals given room to really stretch out – and it’s one that really suits the band. I’m not advocating a wholesale switch in style, but it’s never a bad thing for bands to be versatile and after the buildup in speed and technicality all the way through Turn Up The Gas, this feels like a suitably epic end and a fine way to cap the record off.