Eradicator – Influence Denied (Album Review)

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Eradication begets elucidation.

For the better part of four decades, thrash metal has arguably remained the purest expression of its adoptive genre, showcasing the most gradual level of evolutionary development while still remaining fresh and vital. Granted, its experience its fair share of peaks and valleys in both quality of output and commercial viability since the close of the 1980s, and even the more consistent run its had since its early 2000s revival has had a fair degree of ebb and flow in both regards. Among the Teutonic adherents to the revivalist trend of the past 20 years, the name Eradicator might not be the most visible in the pack, but they count themselves among the very few that have maintained a steady and concise studio output since their 2009 debut “The Atomic Blast” made some respectable waves via the small time German label Yonah Records, to speak nothing for the rarity of maintain a stable lineup through most of their existence.

To the prospective newcomer, this outfit plays a fairly typical stylistic expression of old school thrash metal that splits the difference between the Bay Area and 80s Teutonic approaches. Such notable figures of the sub-genre’s original heyday such as Testament, Death Angel, Kreator and Destruction are counted among their influences, and the peculiar mixture of technical precision and raw aggression points almost singularly to a particular affinity with where all of these bands and the entire corresponding scene were circa 1987. It’s a well rounded variant on the thrash equation that is as kinetic and frenzied as the primordial, speed-obsessed character that the style possessed in its infancy, but also polished and showcasing the beginnings of the more measured and groove-based character that would become the norm by the close of the 80s and continue on for a couple years into the early 1990s.

As with the four previous studio installments by this fold, their latest studio LP “Influence Denied” is a politically charged and insightful foray into neck-destroying chaos that has little use for extended respites from the riff-based carnage. With the inception of opening crusher “Driven By Illusion” via a brief drum fill (as opposed to a creepy ambient or acoustic prelude), the stage is set for consistent 45 minutes plus battle session. The relentless battery of the rhythm section provided by bassist Sebastian Zoppe and drummer Jan-Peter Stober matches the meaty character one might associate with classics such as “The Legacy” and “The Ultra-Violence,” while the twin guitar assault Robert Wied and front man Sebastian Stober is crunchy enough to rival the nastiest examples put forth by mid-80s Destruction, with the high-end gritty snarl of the latter splitting the difference between a vintage Mark Osegueda and a present day Schmier. Even when the aforementioned opening song takes a brief interlude into acoustic breakdown territory, the earlier sense of urgency and drive is left unimpeded.

“Influence Denied” Album Artwork

With the progression of this album, the consistent visual of an agitated mob of thrashers protesting the sad state of the world remains unrelenting. Consistently furious anthems of discontent such as “Hate Preach” and “Echo Chamber” make an initial impression with some mixed up groovy introductory material, but find them in frenetic territory quite quickly while still sneaking in some infectious melodic hooks amid the percussive onslaught. Things get a tad more technically charged on the riff-happy blazer and title song “Influence Denied”, which is intricate enough to trade blows with the seminal work of Forbidden, while the more dissonant and punchy violence of “Mondays For Murder” takes on a more modern character and listens more like a subtle nod to current Exodus with some present day Destruction flavoring. And for those who love the wild technical lead guitar showmanship of the latter day Bay Area sound of the original 80s era, the fancy opening segment of “Anthropocene” and the Marty Friedman-inspired shred fest towards the end of “Hypocrite” don’t disappoint.

It’s near impossible to go wrong with this band, as they’ve stuck very close to what made the original purveyors of the style great several decades ago. If there is any flaw present here, it’s that Eradicator has opted for a fairly conservative road that will ring all too familiar for anyone with an intermediate knowledge of thrash from either the mid-80s or the early 2000s, but great albums often don’t amount to reinventing the wheel to achieve their status. This is among the better showings in a catalog of albums that few with a taste for the style removed from most of the expansive gimmicks that crept in later would find fault in, and any shortcomings in the originality department slip past notice due to the level of energy and enthusiasm on display at each and every turn. For those who enjoy the polished modern retreads of thrash’s golden era as exemplified in the likes of Havok, Dust Bolt and Ravager, this is another fine notch in the thrash revival’s still expanding belt.

Released By: Metalville
Released On: July 23rd, 2021
Genre: Thrash Metal

Musicians:

  • Sebastian Stöber “Seba” / Guitar, vocals
  • Sebastian Zoppe “Zoppe” / Bass
  • Jan-Peter Stöber “Pitti” / Drums
  • Robert Wied “Robb” / Guitar

“Influence Denied” track listing:

  1. Driven by Illusion
  2. Hate Preach
  3. Echo Chamber
  4. Influence Denied
  5. 5-0-1
  6. Jackals to Chains
  7. Mondays for Murder
  8. Hypocrite
  9. Descent into Darkness
  10. Anthropocene

8.6 Excellent

A dark horse on the Teutonic side of the New Wave of Thrash Metal, this quartet of Lennestadt veterans maintain a concise and pummeling auditory assault on their fifth studio outing to rival the big names of yesterday and today

  • Songwriting 9
  • Musicianship 8.5
  • Originality 8.5
  • Production 8.5
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