Deathblow: Insect Politics
Deathblow are thrash as fuck. This four piece outfit from Salt Lake City, Utah delivers an authentic assault so steeped in retro thrash bravado that you will practically be smelling stale beer and BO by the time you finish your first spin of Insect Politics. Luckily, while certainly not dead serious (as some of the pics in the album sleeve will attest), Deathblow are not another band to toss on the heap of throwback retreads that we all had to wade through a decade or so ago. This is a much more convincing strand of old school thrash worship than those dime-a-dozen "thrash or die" folk.
Insect Politics is a relatively brisk listen. At 8 tracks that total 35 minutes or so, it hits the sweet spot for a traditional thrash album (At least for me). The songs are varied, and not a complete and utter aural assault like an early Kreator album or say, Reign in Blood. While songs like "Nefarious Ends" certainly bring the speed and aggression, there's plenty of tracks that serve up stompy goodness ("Accelerated Decrepitude"), and even some nods to traditional heavy metal riffage ("Agent Zero"). A lot of thrash these days definitely has a tendency to bleed together as you work your way through an album, so Deathblow get big marks for keeping things varied and interesting.
Sonically, I'm largely reminded of bands like Vio-lence or Exodus when listening to Insect Politics, but there's a super appealing layer of old-school heavy metal worship in many of the tracks. With riffs straight out of an 80's Dio tune, the previously mentioned "Agent Zero" is easily my highlight of the album. There's plenty of little flourishes throughout the album that definitely showcase that at least a few of the Deathblow boys are fans of Maiden and Priest.
Individual performances are well performed, if maybe slightly unpolished, which is completely acceptable in the context of Thrash. Nobody wants nor expects their denim vested, cheap liquor swilling local thrashers to be razor sharp and technically flawless (unless you are Megadeth in 1990), but the solos could be a bit tighter and more fluid. Still, it's a well played album. The vocals couldn't be more textbook to the style if they somehow had risen Paul Baloff from the grave and had him behind the mic. Vocalist and guitarist Holger belts and hollers with all the piss and vinegar you would expect for an angry, politically charged album such as this.
As is the case with almost every single modern thrash release, Deathblow isn't exactly reinventing the wheel here. It's a thrash album for thrash fans who like to thrash and thrash heartily, but even for some of us that feel at times disillusioned or even bored with the style, there's enough melody and variation in the songs that makes this one worth a listen. With some kick ass riffs and tons of spirit and gumption to go with it, Insect Politics was a nice surprise.
1. Brain Bugs
2. Accelerated Decrepitude
3. Nefarious Ends
4. Insect Politics
5. Convert or Die!
6. Through the Eyes of Illusion
7. Agent Zero
8. Behind Closed Doors
Added: July 7th 2021
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
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