Subtype Zero – Ceremonious Extinction

Band: Subtype Zero
Title: Ceremonious Extinction
Label: Seeing Red Records
Release Date: 27 March 2020
Country: USA
Format Reviewed: Digital Download

Proclaiming on your Bandcamp page that your band is poised to be the generation’s SLAYER or SEPULTURA is a bold statement indeed, but so it is with Cleveland, Ohio’s Thrash Metal outfit SUBTYPE ZERO. In something of a mission statement, the text goes on to say that the band is taking some of the cheese that’s set in with Thrash in recent years and replacing it with aggression. Well… ok, you’ve got my attention. Let’s see what you’ve got for me here…

Following from 2018’s debut album “Astral Awakening”, there is little doubt from the off here, on opening track “Esoteric Illusion”, that we are entering deep into the catacombs of classic Thrash Metal. Galloping pace, speeding, churning guitar riffage and vocals very much in the Tom Araya mould of sounding just on the verge of frenzy.

Ethereal Spirit” slows the pace down just a little bit, without scrimping on the sense of battering aggression, as the riffing slices and the drums batter against your door, demanding to be let in, so they can smash your kitchen up and terrorize your pets… somehow that metaphor got away from me.

Vocally there’s also a flavour of Peter Steele back in his more unabashedly aggressive CARNIVORE days, especially on final track “Six Paths of Pain” (and maybe it’s a coincidence, but is the band name in homage to TYPE O NEGATIVE and their original moniker SUB ZERO, knowlingly splicing the two together?)

True to their word, the band definitely avoid being corny or cheesy with this fairly familiar Thrash delivery. The playing is fast, tight and satisfyingly abrasive; it’s heavy and chunky, well produced, but not overly polished. So having been told to expect straight-up in your face Thrash I can have no real complaints. The broader question for me is whether in this day and age pure Thrash Metal really has the power to terrorize, and on this I’m not sure.

If I am to be swayed that moment comes with the third track “Immortalized”, where the band seems to pull out all their heaviest artillery. Starting out with an infectiously, hammering riff, the track suddenly shifts into a slow, menacingly heavy breakdown, with a doomy duel guitar line, before off we gallop again. Somehow here the vocals and playing just have a little extra crunch and spark to them. I’m reminded of the band’s label mates ATOMIC WITCH (who the band recorded a split release with last year, where they contributed the final track on this EP) who blew me away with their Void CurseEP last year. Another band demonstrating how to make Thrash with energy and conviction.

These days when I’m in the mood for some new Metal that’s really nasty, abrasive and aggressive more often than not I’ll find myself gravitating towards something more in the realms of Sludge. But although Thrash Metal may not be the real centre of the furnace when it comes to brutal Metal carnage (in my opinion), SUBTYPE ZERO do a damn good job here injective life and fury into the genre. If Thrash is what you want you should be well satisfied with “Ceremonious Extinction”. 7.5/10 Tom Boatman

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