Portugal may not be the first country that comes to mind when discussing thrash metal, but Moita-based act Switchtense has certainly impressed with this self-titled effort! This modern thrash metal outfit has been around since 2002 and released a handful of demos and EP's before releasing their debut full-length, Confrontation of Souls, in 2009. Switchtense is their self-titled sophomore album and was released in May, 2011 by Rastilho Records. Though not a flawless masterpiece, Switchtense has managed to cook up an album filled with memorable riffs, a professional sound, and crushingly heavy atmosphere. And when we're talking about about a modern thrash release, all of those qualities are certainly essential!
Switchtense plays a groove-based style of modern thrash metal with hints of metalcore. The music on this album all sounds extremely modern, from the sleek production to the actual compositions themselves. Not for a second would I confuse this for something from the mid-80's thrash scene. Though this may be a problem for some old-school purists, I think that the band sounds extremely confident in their sound and delivers an extremely powerful, if a tad unvaried, metal album. Most of the riffs here are very memorable, but the lack of variation within the arrangements can lead to a bit of a "samey" feeling about halfway through this 49-minute album. This is the only significant flaw on Switchtense, however, seeing that the musicianship and production are both of extremely high quality.
So even though Switchtense isn't a terribly original album and it's lacking a bit in variation, it's an impressive slab of groove/thrash metal that should satisfy any fan of the genre. I've had a great time listening to the album over the last few days, and every time I take it out for a spin I'm blown away immediately by the fantastic musicianship and powerful riffs! Anybody who greatly appreciates such assets should definitely get themselves a copy of this album. 3.5 stars are warranted.
1. Concrete Walls (5:30)
2. Face Off (3:48)
3. Living a Lie (4:11)
4. In Front of Your Eyes (3:56)
5. Unbreakable (4:13)
6. Head of State (3:54)
7. This Is Only the Beginning (2:09)
8. Let Them Die Alone (4:15)
9. Scars of Attitude (3:32)
10. I Will Stand Stronger (4:47)
11. The Legacy of Hate (3:57)
12. Awaiting the Downfall (4:42)