In an era of intensely repetitive and increasingly destructive sociopolitical history worldwide thrash metal yet remains the universal language of protest and outrage. From a culturally observant but not-so scientific perspective it’d be fair to say that several generations of approximation have left the core spectrum of what could be considered the classic Bay Area thrash metal style and sound spread impossibly lithe yet resilient. Mumbai, India based quintet Sabotage offer a close and quick study of mid-80’s thrash metal almost in hindsight that often takes into account the whole thirty year history of the bands they most closely resemble such as Death Angel and Testament. Double bass drumming, moshable breaks, and (somewhat forgettable) lead guitars sketch from an imperfect memory of what Bay Area thrash was and often miss out on the NWOBHM influenced core melodic device that the genre was born from. That isn’t to say the Sabotage haven’t nailed their own style, in fact they’ve cranked out an inspired and generally ‘rough around the edges’ statement on this their debut EP ‘The Order of Genocide’.
India is a blindspot for many North Americans and the generalized, often sterilized, summation of their complex cultural and political evolution over the last several decades is typically shaped by corporations who’d benefit from spreading disinformation. “Public Enemy” gives some particularly striking insight with a fairly simple bit of a news/radio comment that suggests the self-humbled, ‘for the greater good’ and impoverished image of the country we often see as naturally socialist is a point of conflict for those who’d reinforce their own ‘born in’ caste/class that religion perpetuates. There is some great cruelty to this, to never see a higher position for oneself in life is absolute devastation for many. Anyhow, even if I’ve misinterpreted the message somewhat I am grateful for any piece of music that offers some broadening perspective and consideration for people that are often made invisible to those living with privilege. This is where I’d start to actually agree with that old Global Metal documentary from Sam Dunn and see metal as more than just music to people who are living under the thumb of crooked oppressors.
Coming off of recent well-received releases from Xentrix and Death Angel there is admittedly something more vibrant, lively and entrenched in Sabotage‘s reality compared to the relatively clean gloss of those ‘comeback’ recordings from comfortable old men. “Failed is the Law” has some hardcorish pit-chugging and is perhaps the most ‘modern’ influenced track on the album where the rest of the EP heavily reminds me of Outrage‘s debut album ‘Black Clouds’ where they’d nailed the Bay Area sound but tweaked it just enough that they sounded like themselves. “Bloodthirst” features an all too clear nod to both the first Metallica album and then Megadeth‘s ‘Peace Sells…’ era on the bridge; “The Order of Genocide” has a solid Hexen-esque intro and a set of riffs that could have been a B-side on ‘The New Order’, and “Public Enemy” is a sort of mixed bag of riff ideas and guitar pyrotechnics. I suppose where I start to lost interest in these tracks is when they push into those hardcorish and moshable parts, similar to what Crisix (or Havok, even) have started to do while created a more ‘festival ready’ approach to their sound. I’d generally want either more thrash metal strong-armed riffs or something at a gallop for this sound as I don’t think the chugging moments enhance their prettier surroundings.
I felt like ‘The Order of Genocide’ is worthy of some consideration despite the relatively ‘green’ edge of the recording and odd effect on the vocals. A strong bass guitar presence and plenty of inventive riffs make for a solid listen. Because I find this generally above average I can give a moderate recommendation for Sabotage‘s first EP; It is a fine place to start and they’ve done a great job of securing a well considered package with impactful thrash metal songs. For preview purposes I’d suggest “The Order of Genocide” shows the full range of what Sabotage can do so far and “Failed is the Law” is the most memorable song despite its mosh metal tirades.
They all look like you. 3.25/5.0
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