Formed in 2008 by compatriots from Brazilian thrashers Farscape, Atomic Roar and Apocalyptic Raids energetic crust influenced speed metal mashers Whipstriker celebrate a decade of mayhemic loudness with what is frankly their best full-length release to date. ‘Merciless Artillery’ is also their most focused speed metal release as they’ve pushed out some of that d-beat influenced Warfare-spawned rawness in favor of a sharper and more intense speed metal/NWOBHM sound alongside a notable increase in nods to old school Venom and Destruction‘s early speed metal days. You might miss some of their punkish edge but the refind guitar work will ultimately win you over.
Maybe its the ace Rök (Sadistik Exekution) artwork and all of the excellent lead guitar work but the overall feeling of ‘Merciless Artillery’ reminded me of Voivod‘s ‘War And Pain’. This could largely be because punk and Venom influence both had a big hand in that record as well. Granted Whipstriker are a speed metal band and nowhere near as wonky as Voivod was in 1983, but I digress. The steadfast blackened thrash experience of this band’s sound is absolutely still in tact but the lead guitars invoke hallowed NWOBHM influence throughout. ‘In the Sign of Evil’-meets-Tank style speed metal still anchors Whipstriker‘s sound but the dual, and sometimes dueling, guitar leads elevate the band’s approach beyond the multitude of similar bands touring today.
The first highlight of the album is absolutely the shrine to Venom‘s Mantas that is “Mantas Black Mass” but as I mentioned earlier the lead guitars on the first half of the album are what really drew my interest across several listens. “Soldier of Sodom” and “Enemies’ Leather” took me back to the pre-‘Eternal Devastation’ era of Destruction with hectic and violent speed metal riffing that is both memorable and the perfect foil for the intense lead guitar work that gilds each song. ‘Merciless Artillery’ is the type of album I can leave on for hours at a time and never get tired of the guitar work and generally mayhemic old school speed metal approach.
|Released||March 9, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Whipstriker on Facebook|
Speed Metal, Heavy Metal
Death is all you see. 3.75/5.0
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