Wow, how time flies eh?
Perhaps more shockingly though is the fact that 2020 also marks the 35th anniversary of me first getting to hear the band via their awesome self-released debut album ‘Power From Hell’.
Throughout the intervening years and with a myriad of band members passing through their ranks one thing has always remained a constant for me, and that is the simple fact that Onslaught always have been and perhaps always will be the UK’s number one thrash metal outfit. Likewise, the one band member who has been the driving force (see what I did there?) behind the band’s career is guitarist Nige Rockett, and here on the band’s seventh studio album he is joined by long standing bassist Jeff Williams, drummer James Perry, guitarist Wayne Dorman along with new(ish) vocalist Dave Garnett who had previously stood in for then frontman Sy Keeler when he was unable to play live back in 2019.
I must admit the thought of a Keeler-less Onslaught did initially have me a bit worried, I wasn’t exactly blown away by the Steve Grimmett fronted line up and when the band initially re-grouped back in 2005 it was a joy to see Keeler back alongside his old bandmates.
So, where my concerns warranted?
Well, if videos premiered by the band mid UK lockdown were anything to go by perhaps not. ‘Religiousuicide’ was/is like an unsuspected stab in the eye from a band sounding hungry and angry as fuck, whilst ‘Bow Down To The Clowns’ sounds like a lesson to all the Bay Area bands still thrashing in how to take your A game to a whole new generation of headbangers. Garnett I must admit rising to the challenge and then some.
One listen to album opener proper ‘Strike Hard Strike Fast’ (which shoots straight out the blocks after the scene setting ‘Rise To Power’) will immediately have you windmilling and throwing horns like there is no tomorrow and to follow this with the aforementioned ‘….Clowns’ really does make for as impressive an introduction as you could hope from Onslaught in 2020.
‘Generation Antichrist’ fits nicely into the gap in the thrash metal world left vacant by the recently semi-retired Slayer whilst ‘All Seeing Eye’ feels not unlike a 21st century reboot of the mighty Priest’s ‘Electric Eye’, well in the subject matter at the very least.
‘Addicted To The Smell Of Death’ continues the breakneck pace of the record with gang vocals cementing the band’s toxic call to arms. ‘Empire’s Fall’ is up next and this for me is perhaps the sound of Onslaught at their finest, seamlessly blending old school rifferama with a slightly more modern melodic chorus, this is a song that actually makes me want to listen to metal again…something I don’t say too often these days.
Closing things out we have a reworking of the band’s 2019 tribute to Motorhead ‘A Perfect Day To Die’ this time around with Garnett barking out the vocals and making it the almost perfect way to end the record.
‘Generation Antichrist’ is perhaps Onslaught’s finest album since their 1986 thrashterpiece ‘The Force’. So, Trash Till The Death brothers and sisters – this beast of a record is OUT NOW!
Buy ‘Generation Antichrist’ Here
Author: Johnny Hayward