Gama Bomb is not just another tribute band to the glory days of Thrash Metal. Bats (Prosthetic Records) does display that while they are students of the era, they are also invested in establishing themselves as a band that walks in the present, while preferring to keep things at a more manic pace.
This is best illustrated on “Egyptron,” it builds momentum from the taunt, palm-muted attack, but goes to greater lengths. Using the five-note suspended pentatonic scale, the guitars create an exotic mood, before The Egyptian Lover raps a verse.
Though this is the band at their most experimental and might lead those not familiar with what they do to think they’re akin to Avenged Sevenfold, they clear up misconceptions with the street-wise “Living Dead in Beverly Hills.”
The album’s melodic vocals are as rapid-fire as needed to provide a commanding narrative for the songs and even daring to venture up into falsetto shrieks. Guitarist Domo Dixon produced this album, which accounts for why all the solos sound pristine, as this is a very guitar-dominant album.
The use of gang vocals on “Mask Of Anarchy” is very well-placed in the chorus. They add a slight touch of rock ‘n’ roll to “Don’t Get Your Hair Cut.”
“Dreamstealer” is driven by a tight palm-muted tension that leans in its saddle toward power metal. Some melodies are more cumbersome than others, even with its more Van Halen-like party vibe.
“Speed Funeral” is the first song that digs into the hyper-aggressive, razor-riffed brand of thrash that Slayer made famous. Rather than adding more grit to conform to the mood of the song, the singer sticks to what he knows.
Lyrically they stick to horror-tinged anthems of angst, with “Secular Saw” being the first song that goes above and beyond in the lyrical department with its joking look at religion. The gang vocals of “Bats in Your Hair” help to keep it from sounding like the more freewheel-burning proto-thrash of Judas Priest.
This is a fun listen that exceeds expectations. They could have been satisfied by finding themselves as just a noteworthy addition to the new school thrash revival, but proved they care about songs more than recreating a sound, to become a band with their own identity that looks back to the past without being chained to it.
Buy the album here:
8 / 10