TRASTORNED – Into the Void (2023)REVIEW

Clutching their throats, unable to stifle the screams which call from beyond this speeding raw madness from disturbed minds arrives by way of the adept hands of Santiago, Chile-based thrash metal quartet Trastorned, who scratch and strangle out their beast-like reaction to a world gone insane on this long-awaited debut full-length album. Through eight sermons, tales and hallucinations of anxietous death ‘Into the Void‘ curses all witness with calculated exaggerations of the traditional thrash metal form, bending its steel with molten claw and wraith like screams into their own vessel of maniac guile while still upholding the best of the late 80’s tradition in excessum. The result of all this mayhem is inarguably one of the best thrash metal albums you’ll come across this year, a personae rich and riffing-hot hammer upon unwitting mankind.

Trastorned formed as a quintet circa 2008 and began working on a fairly straightforward form of circa ’81-83 speed/thrash metal to start, while they were feeling in the dark somewhere between rock solos and a solid approximation of traditional songwriting on their first and second demos (‘Killer Thrash‘, 2010) that’d all been more-or-less in line with their goals to start. For a formative release that second tape was pretty solid but not representative of where they’d take their gig going forward. It’d seem like they’d basically sat down and put in the work from there improving their general capabilities while honing in on a unique voice of their own, it counts for quite a lot in my book that they’d waited until they had all of this nailed out by the time a third demo (‘Witching Demo!‘, 2014) arrived since it basically contained a lot of the hallmarks we find on their debut almost a decade later, in fact all three of the songs from that tape are prominently featured on this record. If you are looking for direct precedence and development leading up to ‘Into the Void‘ all that you need to know is compacted into that third demo.

Toxic twinning. — Just as early German thrash metal borrowed heavily from the early Bay Area speed/thrash metal scenery with a bit of extra Venom ‘tude applied so does the witching thrash metal of Trastorned at face value. Yet we find their years-developed style much more semblant of the sophisticated shred-quality riffing of Forbidden and Coroner in the late 80’s when taking a closer look at guitarists Felipe González and Fabian Piña‘s work, which brings small doses of classic Possessed (and their South American equivalents) to keep it all ripping fast and on fire. It’d make sense to point to the first Vio-lence record when we consider the aggressive diction and timbre of vocalist Felipe Lonza but we can also consider deeper cuts like Lȧȧz Rockit for cadence and a similar but tempered approach to that type of singing, either way it provides plenty of personality. Gang shouts, cacophonic effects, and a great sense of timing in general make for an aggressive and somewhat extreme take on classic thrash metal which feels far more alive and ripping than most while still differentiating from the aesthetically similar leanings of groups like Mental Devastation.

If you’re keeping track of the timeline here it bears some meditation on the fact that ‘Into the Void‘ has a lot on its shoulders as the ultimate product of fifteen years worth of work from a band who’d taken their time to get it right, or at least managed to secure their foundation and personae through restructured line-ups and despite the dire interruption of the ongoing plague years. The moment you step into Trastorned‘s realm it’ll immediately feel like an especially precise, well-rendered and realized world for a debut album as they’ve basically skipped that “green” first album stage we get from many groups and instead find a mature and serious record up front. The point to make here is that these guys were probably ready to make this record six years ago but it is all the better for having some extra years of consideration channeled into every note. So, it makes sense that we find all three songs from their cornerstone 2014 demo reworked for this full-length, that was where they’d planted their flag in the soil.

“Witch Hunt” and “Metal Violence” offer the spark and the malevolent momentum of the full listen up front in their direct-to-jaw cut thrash metal riffing as it arrives at a galloping ’til grinding pace and this is the major focus of the full listen from that point on, the guitarists running amok as the rhythms sustain their menacing tension. We get a few peripheral spikes to the ear to start thanks to a bit of flair from the bassist and in recognizing the space created around the drum kit is suitably compressed, a high-risen placement socked into a larger studio sized space, which allows the snare and kick drums to strike the gut region with their attack but also fill the edges of the mix with detail. In simpler terms, you’ll get an authentic late 80’s feeling from the rhythm section without it landing too thin or lo-fi. This does mean that the bass guitar tone takes a backseat to the rhythm guitar and vocal interplay but this only benefits the attack of the band and feels like a classic near-death heavy/thrash metal mode (default ex.: Demolition Hammer, alt. Forced Entry) without losing all midrange values. Trastorned are basically on a roll from the moment those two songs have fired the kiln as “Black Fire” finishes that initial thought showcasing the technical acumen these folks are leading with by way of a barging set of riffs in rapid but sensical progression and despite these being 3-4 minute songs they manage to insert at least two big lead guitar solos into each piece. It won’t all seem particularly catchy or memorable to start but I’d found it was only because these guys throw a dense array of statements at the ear and let the listener sort out the tunefulness of it on their own time. Already this is in the best tradition of late 80’s thrash metal, all of the violence you’d want from emergent extreme metal of the era delivered with impeccable skill.

“Miasma of Death” is the logical peak of Side A, the one to break the rush and show off a bit between its kinda punk rocking chord progression, tech-thrash clip and variety of rocking and shredding guitar solos. There is a wild bout of classic mid-80’s Bay Area thrash metal theatre happening on this piece and it makes sure you don’t miss the personal style of the band when hitting the midpoint on the full listen. As we flip sides and break into the title track (“Into the Void“) this peak thread of personae sustains with a decidedly more Exodus-level guitar progression, this is where the record locks me in as a fan since so much happens in that short period of time but all of it fires off not only readable but writ with sense. I hate to use the term “playful” with regard to thrash metal but the way Trastorned play with rhythm throughout this record not only speaks to their influences but allows some serious revival of that core first wave thrash/speed metal spirit despite their blackened intent as it inserts into the heavier side of the band, it makes for a sound which is more classic than most and appreciably difficult to pull off when we consider the “throwback” history of the sub-genre as a whole. This is echoed in the rhythms which guide “Insanity” through its late album paces as the full-on tunnel vision the album creates has set in. The full listening experience is impossibly tight, entirely void of filler, and makes an irrefutably winning first impression which overwhelms with details upon further visitation.

Into the Void‘ has everything I want from a thrash metal album in 2023: Speed, technicality, rhythmic detail, unique yet traditionally sourced style and a big loud up front personality which catches the ear and sets the room on fire. Thrash metal should pull all ears from every corner of the hall and get ’em moving and I’ve found Trastorned beyond capable of consistently pulling me into their vortex and along for the short but skull-denting ride. Top it off with a stare-worthy cover painting from Marcelo Miranda, a twisted logo and I’m generally right where I want to be with a modern but proper ‘old school’ intensive thrash metal release. There is every indication that they put the work into this one and I’d found it a blast to sit with every time I picked it up. It deserves a very high recommendation.

Very high recommendation. (90/100)

Rating: 9 out of 10.
TITLE:Into the Void
LABEL(S):Dying Victims Productions
RELEASE DATE:January 27th, 2023

Help Support Grizzly Butts’ goals with a donation:

Please consider donating directly to site costs and project funding using PayPal.