Bliksem: Face The Evil

Stripped-down Belgian thrashers fail to ignite

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Though undoubtedly a rollicking proposition on the smaller stages of European metal festivals, on their full-length debut (following an EP in 2010) Belgian thrashers Bliksem (the Dutch word for lightning) are perhaps a bit too clean, restrained and benign to really ‘throw down’ like this sort of music ought to, with grunge melodies and COC-style grooves assuaging the scampering rhythms on Dead End Road, These Tales Of Tragedy and Mr Man.

Amid the quintet’s orthodox retro-thrash songwriting and riffing the sharp, sardonic, assured vocals of Peggy Meeussen lend the band a distinctive edge – their influences apparently include female-fronted 80s cult thrash also-rans Détente and Znöwhite, and that’s exactly the right company for Bliksem: solid, simple, small-scale speed metal, cranking out tight, unfussy arrangements and solos with an appropriately 80s dry, crisp, trebly production, effortlessly getting heads nodding without troubling many brains.

It doesn’t quite catch fire and very little of it remains in the memory long, but it’s hard to fault and easy to spin.