Various Artists - Speed Kills VII album review

Legendary primer returns a bit too quickly

cOVER ARTWORK FOR Various Artists - Speed Kills VII album

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The original series of Speed Kills albums were essential listening for thrash fans in the 80s, so it makes sense that the rejuvenated Music For Nations crew have resurrected the concept to celebrate the strength-in-depth of today’s scene. What is less apparent is what this seventh volume is meant to represent. For a start, barely half of the bands here play anything approaching yer actual thrash metal.

Acid Reign are flying the flag for the UK old school, with previously released reunion anthem Plan Of The Damned, Divine Chaos’s Ignorance Everlasting offers a contemporary take on the genre, albeit with plenty of death metal oomph and occasional proggy touches, and both Dungeon and Desolator offer a raw and chaotic strain of retro thrash that is easy to love.

However, none of black/death metal bands Formicarius, Nine Covens, Voices or Akercocke can be plausibly referred to as “the best young thrash talent around” as they are here, and the fact that Akercocke’s name is misspelt three times in the liner notes suggests that, despite Daniel P Carter’s brilliant cover art, Speed Kills VII is a bit of a rushed job. What Amulet are doing here is anyone’s guess; their Highwayman demo is likeable UFO-meets-Diamond Head rowdiness, but its contrived vibe seems incongruous. In truth, there’s no denying the quality of much of this. Akercocke’s Inner Sanctum is as perversely brilliant as diehard fans will have expected and will probably give most underground diehards sufficient reason to check Speed Kills VII out. Similarly, The King Is Blind’s Throne Of Skulls noisily encapsulates the band’s brutish, black-hearted appeal and sounds like the work of a band with the wind in their sails; Voices’ Petrograph is a triumph for eccentricity, as post-Voivod discord collides with the scabrous avant-garde; and Nine Covens’ Through Fires Of Tyranny is an unstoppable torrent of hallucinatory grimness.

But given how many great young thrash metal bands there are knocking about, this seems like a missed opportunity that squanders the spirit of its legendary predecessors through lack of attention to detail.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.