RABID BEAST – Rabid Beast (2020)REVIEW

A fire-beast unhinged in the jaws of inferno, tending its nestlings via regurgitation of at least six skulls and whatever bodily mush follows. It is the sort of image that -could- just pull from the aethyr by chance, or from a deep consideration of practical applications of potential scientifically sound maternal instincts in propagation of fire-beasts. Either way, the image is violent in its movement and just generally wild at a glance but, man is it potentially heartwarming to consider the work it’ll take to raise those li’l hellspawn. Chicago-area thrash metal duo Rabid Beast weren’t nurtured via vomit and fire but conjured in fully realized form, incanted via decades of clearly very intense love for late 80’s thrash metal guitar work. Whatever witchery it’d take for these folks, who’d spend nearly two decades collaborating in likewise intense deathgrind band Morgue Supplier, to hoark up their first single in 2012 (“Lower Animal“) the idea was fully formed therein — It’d just take eight years for ’em to pick their gig back up. This five song self-titled EP makes good on that death/thrash-toned intensity while keeping Rabid Beast‘s attack circa ’88-’92, the ‘way late but way heavy’ variety of thrash that hadn’t yet given in to the dry hump of groove metal just yet.

The de rigueur of ‘epic’ thrash metal’s ascent to the 8-10 minute epics of considerable Bay Area rigging was fully dead in the underground well before ‘…And Justice For All’ and ‘Victims of Deception’ dropped and instead the arms race for riffs towards records like ‘Time Does Not Heal’ meant more and more bands were either going death metal or slimming their songs down to powerhouse riffs and harder shouts. Not a history lesson by any means but a mindset to set one’s self into as we approach the brutal spectrum of thrash metal before it’d become a hardcore shouted double-bass rolling death machine a la ‘Epidemic of Violence’; Just on the precipice of brutality is the core Rabid Beast experience. Some New Jersey street thrash swagger, plenty of Canadian post-‘Hell Awaits’ horror, some Chicago apropos death and punk readied lunges, and a flood of well connected but salad-blasted high speed and heavy riffing most of it most indicative of North American standards and practices. The whole yank of the recording banks on a flooring blast of riff after riff that builds momentum for mere moments before re-angling their violent descent. This twisting-in-place grind means solos scratch along, flutter and divebomb only when appropriate, just short of overwhelming the loud production values with input. The main reason you’re going to hit this EP over and over is that adrenaline-squirting whack it provides front to back, it isn’t just “riffs” but that’ll be the major reason to grab on from the get-go.

The appeal isn’t complicated here, thrash at its most efficient point of brutality embodied and intensified to an impressive extreme. It becomes obvious if you’re in the know: One couldn’t simply thrash this hard unless they’d been scratching out these sort of riffs for decades and loving the sub-genre to death the whole time. Shit, I haven’t even mentioned the damn maniac on vocals who is somehow the same dude from Drug Honkey — His hard echoing wail n’ bark approach is absolutely effective, a man on the brink bringing a storm of mania and distress before he snaps. It isn’t exactly ‘Oppressing the Masses’ in terms of diction but that’d be the closest spark I could think of without dipping into certain Razor and Morbid Saint deep cuts. You get it, heavy and fast but not death/thrash. I don’t think I’ve ever come across an Infernäl Mäjesty cover that was anywhere near as appropriate a tribute to that first album as Rabid Beast‘s version of “Overlord”, they’ve somehow pulled the Hanneman riff feeling out of it and made it their own, to the point that I didn’t even recognize the song the first time around. Consider that a pretty high endorsement and recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (79/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Rabid Beast
LABEL(S):Unspeakable Axe Records
RELEASE DATE:October 5th, 2020 [CD]
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [All Formats]
GENRE(S):Thrash Metal

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