Shrapnel, The Virus Conspires (Candlelight)

Alors que l'on réécoute en ce moment quelques seconds couteaux du genre (Hallow´s Eve, Thrust, Onslaught...), on se dit que Shrapnel rentre aisément dans cette case des "working class heroes" qui mettent beaucoup d'énergie et de passion dans le thrash metal qu'ils pratiquent. Souvent la furie du death-thrash rue dans le brancard lorsque les parties de guitare se font très agressives et les coups de boutoir du batteur plus appuyé ("Braindead"). Il n'empêche que les papys de Slayer ("Trial By Fire") et Kreator restent la source d'inspiration principale de ces forgerons de Norwich (Angleterre) que rien ne semblent rebuter, et surtout pas la vitesse brutale et les intros un peu glauques ("22"). Les chœurs s'en donnent souvent à cœur joie dans ces attaques millimétrées ("The Wake"). Même exécutés à la vitesse de la lumière, les solos ne sont jamais bâclés, ce qui est un bon point supplémentaire. En tout cas, "The Virus Conspires" est la belle pièce d'artillerie de ce début d'année pour les amateurs du genre. De quoi au moins casser 3 pattes à un canard !

Dead Zone

Shrapnel, The Virus Conspires (Candlelight Records)
Sortie le 03 février 2014


Shrapnel, The Virus Conspires, live video

The Virus Conspires
Release: 3 February 2014

Thrash metal has been pumping our veins full of hot adrenalin for the last three decades and regardless of commercial peaks and troughs, it continues to be the true fire that burns within heavy metal’s immortal heart. Exploding out from the deceptively genteel streets of Norwich, England, riff-wielding die-hards Shrapnel are one of the finest new bands to proclaim their devotion to keeping the thrash flame blazing.

Formed in April 2009, this five-man wrecking crew began their campaign of destruction disgusted with the lack of a vibrant local metal scene. Driven to provide what few others seemed to be doing, Shrapnel pooled their myriad influences and came up with a sound that revolves around formidable core of pure-to-the-bone thrash and speed metal, but that never fails to keep one eye on the future of the genre too. Proudly citing the likes of Megadeth, Slayer, Testament and Exodus as influences, the band have also assimilated elements of everything from traditional heavy metal to modern death metal. The result is a thrilling lesson in neck-wrecking sonic violence.

“The energy in thrash is just so much more satisfying than anything else,” says guitarist Chris Martin. “It’s technically challenging and exhausting to play live and it gives you that buzz, that rush of adrenaline that few other genres do for me personally. Individually we are pretty different in our tastes but when you throw it all together it works. It's got to have balls and it’s got to have attitude. When you find a band that has that bite to them, that testosterone driven aggression, then it’s killer. And that’s what we do!”
With a line-up completed by lead guitarist Nathan Sadd, bassist Shaun Mcelhinney, drummer Simon Jackson and frontman Jae Hadley, Shrapnel recorded and released their first EP, No Saviours, in 2009 and received widespread acclaim and support from metalheads and metal media alike, proving that this young band are already hitting the nail squarely on the head. A second EP, The Devastation To Come, was recorded with revered studio wizard Russ Russell (Evile/Napalm Death) at the controls, and emerged in 2010 to great acclaim. Songs like skull-smashing opener Eternal War and the scything, heads-down Toxic Slaughter proved beyond doubt that Shrapnel were operating on a higher level of skill and creativity than most of their peers, while Mr. Russell’s skyscraper-levelling production job cranks added a final layer of aural aggravation to the whole brutal enterprise. The band were so thrilled with their first collaboration with Russ that they committed to spending a whole month at Parlour Studios in the autumn of 2012 to piece together their debut full-length album.

“We went into the studio wanting to find out what makes bands great, what makes them great on record and what makes them stand out,” explains Chris Martin. “Russ has the knowledge and experience and the opportunity came up. Did you hear Evile’s Infected Nations album or Napalm’s Time Waits For No Slave? Woah! We knew we could get what we were after with Russ and the end results have been beyond our expectations.”

Proudly outstripping all of their past studio efforts, Shrapnel’s debut album The Virus Conspires is simply one of the most potent and convincing thrash metal albums the UK has ever produced. Fast, furious and utterly uncompromising, songs like Titan, Braindead and Red Terror combine the very best of thrash metal’s classic components with a fresh and exhilarating air of electric intensity that could only come from a young and hungry band that are out for blood and glory. Mercilessly precise and violent but infused with an irresistible sense of muscular groove, this is 21st century thrash metal of the highest order. From the explosive riff attack of opener Kingdom Come through to the ominous might of the title track (which features a voiceover by Metal Hammer journalist and Oaf frontman Dom Lawson, who also contributes backing vocals elsewhere on the album) and on to the savage thrust of the closing All That We Know, The Virus Conspires is an absolute monster that will surely propel Shrapnel to the top of the British metal heap when it is released in the spring of 2014.

Now that they have an album that fully demonstrates the power and fury of their timeless sound, Shrapnel are poised to claim 2014 for their own. With countless blistering live performances under their collective belt already - including a triumphant set at Bloodstock in 2013 and support slots with the legendary likes of Exodus, Sepultura, Suicidal Tendencies, Sacred Reich, Death Angel, Evile, Gama Bomb, Chthonic and many more - the future for the UK’s latest masters of thrash looks blindingly bright as they embark on what promises to be a relentless blizzard of gigs, leaving a trail of snapped necks and beer-sodden chaos in their deafening wake. Primed and ready to perform their precise and devastating anthems for anyone who can take the pace, Shrapnel intend to hit the road with a vengeance, keeping the thrash dream alive for themselves and an ever-expanding army of like-minded metalheads.