The progression from hardcore punk to thrash metal and beyond is often treated as mono-directional flow as if it’d be some kind of ruthless transgression to jump ‘backwards’ rather than forward unto the evolution of extreme heavy metal. In fact this was the natural order of things until the groove metal of the 90’s collided with European hardcore allowing many crossover thrash bands to reasonably chug up and throw down a few mosh riffs in the hopes of modernizing their efforts. This balance between hardcore punk and thrash metal wasn’t at all a compromised when Erosion formed in 1987 between ex-members of thrashers Minotaur and Black Laws. What they lacked in true technical flair the boys brought together the razor-slashed clever-assed riffs influenced by mid-to-late 80’s Kreator with smaller hints of crossover thrash influence throughout. The Hamburg boys impressed on ‘Mortal Agony’ (1988) as their mushy ideas from their ‘The Way of Force’ (1987) demo a year earlier became fuel for an abrupt, heavy, and ripping thrash metal record.
The line-up would change slightly across the next three albums but the core songwriting came from guitarist and sometimes bassist Stefan Römhild. With a knack for hardcore riffs and an interest in the progressive/technical side of thrash you’d think Erosion realized what Canadians Dead Brain Cells never could in terms of connecting crossover with technical thrash but, in fact their sound developed towards hardcore over time; Eventually reaching a Crumbsuckers ‘Beast on my Back’ type of peak with their second album ‘Thoughts’ (1990). From there Erosion would begin to resemble the rising abrasion of European hardcore in the mid-1990’s. Although you’ll have to skip to their follow-up ‘Down…’ (1995) for the full transformation with a new vocalist (basically a pre-OHL thing for Römhild), I personally love the pure split between Euro-core and crossover thrash metal on ‘III’ (1992).
Whatever great value you can glean from Erosion‘s pre-’92 output they were more or less iterating within the average/mediocre range for the German thrash metal of the era. That doesn’t mean I consider either record average, in fact the hardcore lean is incredible, but that this band’s sound in any form would never set Germany’s high standards ablaze. That isn’t to say you’re getting ‘Crossover’ part two, and instead the full scope of this 50 minute thrasher experiments more with the rise of groove/-core a la Pro-Pain when the chance to create melody arises (see: “Love”, “M.L.H.”). I’d complain about these parts if they weren’t the most memorable sections of the album, otherwise it’d sound like a thrash band lead by Raised Fist‘s vocalist.
There are some major thrashers on here that recall the best of ‘Mortal Agony’ (see: “Lonely”, “Reality”) but they play second fiddle to the catchy hardcore grooves that dominate the first half of the record. Think of it as if “H” from ‘Thoughts’ becoming the main voice of a full record and expanded from there. It isn’t so much monotonous but really just too much at 50 minutes. Putting songs like “Power Within” and “Enemy” back to back only highlights how pointless and redundant their inclusion on the album was and the record would be far more reasonable as a full listen of they were clipped out. Beyond analysis of style and sound the ‘feeling’ of this record is appropriately representative of both thrash metal and early 90’s hardcore in transit. That is to say that it has that hardcore tunnel vision with energy that avoids the groove metal tendencies of 90’s thrashers. Think of it like the half-serious thrash of early Stone combined with a hit of Cro-Mags‘ more important records and some love of Destruction‘s more technical guitar work. They don’t escape the ‘genre entry’ feeling but Erosion keep the pace up for as long as they can.
Erosion might’ve cranked out four full-lengths in the space of about eight years as a memorable force within their sphere of influence but, their legacy is not well protected or preserved. Despite the huge popularity of German thrash metal variants many of the lesser known or slightly mediocre releases are generally tossed to the wolves and either poorly scammed as CD-Rs on Discogs or infinitely degraded on old mp3 rips from the early 2000’s. Albums like ‘III’, ‘Mortal Agony’ and ‘Thoughts’ deserve some archival release at some point, though of course I understand taste and demand drive those realities. At the very least I’d say listen and celebrate them before they disappear, especially if you’re into Deutsche thrash and crossover.
This kingdom falls. 3.75/5.0
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