In getting booted from Antabus in 2013 musician Juho Vaarala has thrived in the move from ‘too-close-to-Russia’ town Imatra to Tampere, Finland a city with a history of speed metal greats (Prestige, Dethrone) and current killers (Tornado, Urn). In co-founding Radux with a pair of savvy speed metal guitarists Vaarala‘s shrieking vocals now lend their insanity to a project that’ll hit hard for folks who love the recklessness of early Nuclear Assault and Hirax but still want the songwriting up to par with Iron Angel‘s ‘Hellish Crossfire’. The shriek levels were high as hell on their ‘Radiation Kills’ (2015) demo and gave the impression Radux would head in a sort of ‘We Have Arrived’ sort of direction but with the vocals tempered a bit on their second demo, ‘Last Ones to Survive’ (2016), the traditional heavy/speed metal lean of the band could be better heard.
With their old school sound sharpened and some of their more formative songwriting reworked ‘Disaster Imminent’ is almost -too- authentic with it’s scuzzy, hyper German speed metal sound. When the first riff hits you should immediately be transported to ’85-’86 with a guitar tone and frenzied riff that buzzes between Destruction‘s ‘Infernal Overkill’ and Whiplash‘s ‘Power and Pain’, believe it or not this is a rare sweet spot that few retro influenced bands manage to do right and thankfully Radux hit it with some memorable speed metal songs. “Irradiated Death” was a catchy standout from the band’s ‘Radiation Kills’ demo and it proves worthy enough to bring back as a highlight but the real standout of this short EP is the second half of “Ashes of This World” where their lead guitars finally hit their mark and the rhythm underneath helps an otherwise standard speed metal track retain some greater interest.
The only trouble I have in recommending this thrasher comes when comparing its strengths with classic thrash metal history as it can be difficult to not be reductive side-by-side with early Overkill or the first Hallow’s Eve record. Radux aren’t outdoing speed metal history but rather coming up to par with some of the greats in terms of sound and style. The songwriting shows enough potential based on ‘Disaster Imminent’ and I think they’re well worth following into the future.
Millions dead, more on the way. 3.5/5.0
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