Rotengeist – Start To Exterminate (2014) – This Polish three-piece create thrash metal similar to Voivod, Slayer, Sodom and Sepultura. This is their sophomore release and it sounds quite intriguing thus far. The vocals are rough and hungry, the guitars blaze with the persona of Slayer and Sodom, and the bass riffs definitely crunch on Sepultura. Yet the band does unleash a bit of prog, which was no doubt influenced by Voivod. The album begins with Muslim chants, followed by fierce thrash riffs and the sound of George Bush. (You do know that there’s a possibility the Jeb Bush will run in the 2016 election, right? And I say no fucking way to those elite bastards!) The band get down to business with “End Point Blank 3:08” which certainly sees Slayer riffs fused with prog, making for a much different and more layered style of thrash then we normally get. I have to give them credit for at least trying to bulk up their thrash a little with several intriguing song structures, where riffs actually build onto other riffs and solos fly about while (when they’re supposed to, this is far from the “solo all over the place” sort of thrash album) fitting tightly, like interlocking pieces in a musical jigsaw puzzle. I don’t think Piotr Winiarski is the greatest thrash vocalist I’ve ever heard, but when he’s playing riffs like that, the vocal matter of this record is completely moot. Instead, I’m intrigued by so many different atmospheres that my head is spinning. Literally, spinning.
“Rise Of The Machines 3:39” actually saw the band at their overall thrashiest, not edging towards thick grooves towards later in the piece. But Rotengeist have the uncanny ability to make a song that’s not even four minutes sound twice its length due to their multi-textured soundscapes, which in turn produce mind tricks. These guys are truly great musicians, but it might be hard to get them recognized throughout the world due to the vocal approach, which may not work for some. But Piotr really puts himself into the vocal work and I think if people listen to the music for the music and not just the damn vocals, they’ll find a strong and curious thrash record in Start To Exterminate. I never really understood what was up with “Death Came With A Milkmaid 4:33” but the band played it so well that it didn’t even matter what the lyrics were about. If you’re willing to give it chance, you might be in for a surprise. I think these guys have a lot of potential and this album proves it.