Twisted into form in the mid-80’s as a greater second wave of thrash bands erupted worldwide, Ottawa thrashers Infrared gave birth to a slightly malnourished child, their 1988 ‘R.I.P. (Recognition in Power)’ demo, and promptly ‘left to buy a pack of cigarettes’ for twenty five years. Influenced by the Bay Area explosion as much as they were by classic German heavy metal and their punkish local scene, Infrared‘s first demo was certainly no abortion. Thanks to the internet, and savvy tape rippers hoping to preserve heavy metal demos, the tape has been kept alive through file-hoarders and demo lovers alike. Perhaps feeling guilty for abandoning their spawn, Infrared would return in 2014 to right their wrongs and continue on a bit older and wiser.
With a couple year’s work they returned in listenable form with re-recordings and premieres alike with songs written between 1985-1988 on their ‘No Peace’ album in 2016. Thankfully that old tape wasn’t a turd and in polishing it’s elderly style Infrared made a confidently ‘old school’ return to a scene that never knew they existed. Their sound on that first record was very close to Defiance‘s ‘Product of Society’ with some equal interest in the melodic side of Heathen and Testament. I particularly liked the Holy Terror-esque performance of demo track “Untimely Storm”. I’d expected something more rollicking and was impressed that Infrared re-appeared as a tightly wound classic thrash unit. Two years later ‘Saviours’ is the band’s follow-up featuring their first new material since splitting up in 1990.
Opening with a crawling groove and wailing solo the spirit of classic thrash seizures out of it’s dried bones as ‘Saviours’ warms up. Though Armin Kamal‘s vocals are far more melodically successful, the guitar work and overall sound of ‘Saviours’ would fit right alongside remasters of classic ’89-’91 era releases from bands like Slammer, Paradox, or Xentrix. and as the album progresses so unfurls a handful of nods and similarities to the more refined side of late 80’s thrash and heavy metal. The guitar work is often technical, or at least sharply performed in the same way Artillery have developed beyond the 80’s. I hear a bit of Voivod (or Equinox) on the title track, some Kreator in the second half, and a ballad (“The Fallen”) that I tended to skip over. As diverse and well arranged as the track list is the true hook shot of the record comes in the pairing of the final two tracks.
“Father of Lies” is the sort of brooding heavy metal song you’d get on a lot of post-1992 thrash albums from groups trying to modernize without bowing to the grungy groove metal that’d soon take over. As it peaks the song gives way to the abrupt Sodom-esque riffing and Chuck Billy inspired vocal of “Genocide Convention”. This pairing is not only the most impactful set of lyrical statement on the record but also some of the more dynamite-packed guitar and drum interplay from Infrared yet. It was a sharp way to end the album and helped sell me on the whole thing. That is pretty much my takeaway, I’m sold on the record. If you’re partial to the mildly melodic classic thrash that’d arisen pre-“Enter Sandman”, I’d say ‘Saviours’ is a worthy listen throughout. If just in a previewing mood “The Demagogue” and “Genocide Convention” will provide the instant gratification for most any thrash dabbler.
|Released||May 25, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Infrared’s Bandcamp!||Follow Infrared on Facebook|
Breeding mass denial. 3.75/5.0
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