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Degradation: Juggernaut

There is always something exciting about finding a strong thrash-metal recording; this is especially true with something like Juggernaut, an album that works hard to set itself alongside the work of classic bands like Death, Testament, and Megadeth. Though founded in 2001, Degradation, a Chicago-area band, has delivered a full-length debut that promises to be popular with fans of aggressive, unrelenting, heavy metal. Juggernaut demonstrates that thrash may still sound strong, fresh, and tight at a time when heavy metal is branching out in so many musical directions that it is getting harder to classify every new act.

Juggernaut grabbed my attention quickly and delivered a solid listening experience. The songwriting has enough variety so that the songs don't all sound the same even when they hold to roughly the same tempo. A track like "Thrill of the Kill" is especially good at showing off Degradation's ability to construct a tune that has a good variety of riffs, guitar solos, and vocal range. Listeners should also take note of the way the guitars on "Rise to Fall" build on a strong drum opening with a clean guitar lick that slightly echoed the punk-inspired sound of Iron Maiden's earliest work. Juggernaut also features "Degredation," one of those anthem-like songs that allow a band to declare its name musically and proudly. In some ways, "Degradation" reminded me of Pennywise's own song about their namesake. Degradation is more 80s thrash than 90s punk, but their debt to hardcore punk is clearly evident throughout this release.

My only reservation about Juggernaut is that Alex Manske's vocals sometimes sounded a little more like speaking than singing. Although this is common to both punk and thrash, this vocal style didn't quite work on a track like "A Necessary Evil" which needed more of the vocal punch Manske brings to cuts like "Juggernaut" or "Trail of Sin." Manske has a fairly deep voice, but could use a little more growl.

Juggernaut is old-school thrash, but not the kind that simply repeats the past or mines classic work for old cliché's. It is a strong, exciting debut that deserves to be heard.

Track Listing1. A Necessary Evil
2. Juggernaut
3. The Reckoning
4. Rise to Fall
5. Trail of Sin
6. Executioner...Slayer of Light (the Crown Cover)
7. Degradation
8. Thrill of the Kill

Added: December 21st 2011
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2062
Language: english

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