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Kotok: Euroshima

I'm as guilty as everyone else out there occasionally when it comes to judging a book by it's cover when it comes to media, or really any consumer good for that matter. Slick packaging and artwork certainly aren't always a good indicator of what's inside, but it doesn't hurt to put some effort in and supply some eye candy. So, when I received the review copy of Euroshima and took a good hard look at its cover art, I was not at all enthused or encouraged by its whole "mid 90's Pantera cover band from Kansas brought to you by Monster Energy" vibe. Luckily for you (and luckily for ME, really), Kotok's Euroshima has a lot to offer fans of melodic thrash metal and skull-faced explosions alike.

Kotok is a one man thrash project, and that man is Joonas Koto, who is formerly of Finnish melodeath veterans Omnium Gatherum. Joonas does everything on Euroshima, and while the drums are understandably programmed, everything is well performed and professionally done. Joonas handled guitar duties in Omnium Gatherum, and you can absolutely hear some of the tried and true melodeath sound peeking through all the thrash riffage on this album. While Kotok is a thrash band, it's more in the vein of a Testament or mid-period Megadeth than say a Kreator or Slayer. There's tons of melody and harmonies to be had in between all of the aggression and doom and gloom. Mr Koto's voice isn't anything particularly amazing, but it gets the job done admirably. His angry belts and shouts decry a world befouled by sour politicians and war, as should be the battle cry of any thrash act worth their salt.

With a barrage of stop-start riffs and menacing octave chords, the album starts menacingly, and it's immediately obvious that while this is a new project the man pulling the strings is no novice to the ways of the Metal. The riffs are razor sharp and memorable, and the solos and melodies on opening track "Flow Irreversible" are just top notch. The guitar work really is just top notch in general, and as stated previously is the highlight of pretty much every track. Koto does an admirable job being a one man band here, but with a dedicated vocalist and some real, non programmed drums, this could have been even better and more impressive. I'm probably expecting way too much from a self financed first album from a single guy, but I think it speaks to the overall quality of the music that I'd like more from Kotok on the performance front.

Euroshima takes what everyone loves about the golden era of American thrash metal and gives it a punch in the arm thanks to the European melodiscsm that Kotok brings to the table. There's certainly plenty of the typical energy and aggression you'd expect from a Thrash release, but the tight and immaculately played riffs coupled with a knack for providing some earworm moments via a good harmony solo or catchy lead here and there is what makes this such an enjoyable listen. This is a great starting point for what I hope is a long term project in Kotok, and if you are a fan of newer Testament especially, you have to give Euroshima a listen.

1. Flow Irreversible
2. Submission
3. Hategrown
4. Screams
5. Fuel for War
6. The Stance
7. Justice After All
8. Euroshima

Added: July 25th 2021
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 545
Language: english

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