Ramming Speed - Brainwreck (Teenage Disco Bloodbath, 2008)
Is there another genre of music that gets away with as much as thrash metal? We accept cheeky beer 'n party anthems alongside vicious sociopolitical critiques, depictions of war back to back with self-referential thrash about thrash, as if they were all part of the same human experience. Which of course they are.
"Man Vs. Machine"
Boston's Ramming Speed (nee Despotic Robot) are awesome because they honor tried and true thrash themes with conviction, and match 'em with enough different fast 'n furious metal styles to avoid simple thrash nostalgia. Municipal Waste fastcore collides with D.R.I. punk/metal crossover. Early Metallica riffs and Napalm Death grind high five in the parking lot (the latter even gets a song dedication with "Shane Embury is the Brad Pitt of Grindcore"). The guitars are all old-school, but they get bussed around to a bunch of different schools. Vocalist Pete "Za" Gallagher has a throat built for both chant-leading and dog-barking. He's got an opinion on everything, from immigrant reform to zombie-killing laser technology. Throwback thrash annoys me. Ramming Speed not so much.
Perth Express - Discography (Teenage Disco Bloodbath, 2008)
It's a model of German efficiency: every single track that this now defunct crew recorded from 2004-2007, including the contents of their self-titled LP, 10", 7" and four-track demo. That's like getting one of those General Mills cereal packs with miniature boxes of Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms and Frosted Cheerios. Except instead of rotting teeth, you get to discover the entire canon of a fucking kickass band that nobody in the U.S. would have heard without getting raped by import prices.
"Ace of Spades"
Perth Express rule for the same reasons that His Hero Is Gone and Converge are rightfully deified: they agglomerate the crustier parts of hardcore, grind and death metal, and shoot them through with enough white hot passion to melt the genres at the seams and fuse them together. It's almost embarrassing to listen to Perth Express back-to-back with an average grind band that sticks to one intensity level -- many of these songs cram stunning peaks of aggression and melody into just two minutes, all the while allowing the band's drummer free reign to annihilate ten different ways per song. The liner notes offer a running English commentary on each song's lyrics, which are mostly in German. They reveal a band with a lot of thought and serious intent behind what they do. You can sense that just by listening.