Album Title: Rest In Violence
Label: Century Media Records
Date of Release: 17 January 2020
Even if, like me, you’re not the biggest fan of thrash metal, you will have heard the names Sodom and Kreator. Chances are, you may even have a disc or two of these bands nestled within your music collection. I certainly do. So when two musicians with strong links to these bands as well as Angel Dust and Voodoo Cult go off in search of new realms, you’re pretty certain to be in safe hands. The guys in question are guitarist Bernd “Bernemann” Kost and drummer Markus “Makka” Freiwald and together they have teamed up with vocalist Ingo Bajonczak (Assassin), guitarist Chris Tsitsis (ex-Suicidal Angels) and bassist Marc Hauschild to form Bonded and to take on the world of thrash metal.
Personally-speaking, I’m not the greatest lover of fast, aggressive and loud thrash metal. Yes, I know I’m the Man Of Much Metal and such a statement could be treated as being blasphemous in the extreme. However, I must remain honest and admit to preferring my thrash a little more on the melodic and varied side.
Imagine my surprise then when, after a couple of spins of ‘Rest In Violence’, I began to really rather like it. But when the dust settles and multiple spins allows greater clarity on the compositions, my initial surprise is lessened. That’s because, whilst being old-school, aggressive and abrasive, Bonded deliver just enough melody and just enough modernity to ignite my enthusiasm and keep me entertained.
The first big plus about ‘Rest In Violence’ is the meaty production. It is crisp, sharp and full-bodied, providing the instruments with the perfect foundation upon which to attack. And attack they do. Guitarists Kost and Tsitsis deliver furious razor-sharp and incisive riff after riff, ranging from mid-tempo stomp and groove, to blistering pace. Either way, they impress, as they do when they cut loose and deliver a lead break or six. As you’d expect from thrash metal of this kind, the solos are regular, full of energy, speed and flamboyance.
Alongside the guitarists, Freiwald pummels the drumkit mercilessly and together with bassist Marc Hauschild, they provide a commanding framework that drives the music forward with precision and bucketloads of energy. The opening one-two of ‘Godgiven’ and ‘Suit Murderer’ are breathless and frenetic thrash cuts that are bound to find favour with genre afficionados, with the latter of the two catching my ear the most thanks to its vaguely Scandinavian feel to the riffs.
Ingo Bajonczak is like a man possessed at times, varying his style and delivery just enough to keep things interesting. Alongside his raspy, gruff approach, the title track demonstrates his deeper death growl for example. ‘Je Suis Charlie’ has to be one of my favourite compositions. It lowers the pace ever-so-slightly to allow groove and a stomping swagger to emerge, alongside some brutal drumming and classic gang vocals in the chorus.
There are also a couple of tracks later in proceedings that require a mention and a moment in the spotlight. Firstly, there’s ‘Galaxy M87’ that mixes things up by blending slower-paced melodic sensibilities with sections of uncompromising pace. Then there’s the album closer, ‘The Outer Rim’, which starts off quietly with a clean guitar and is then joined by some resonant clean vocals and some instant, epic-sounding melodies. It is such a change of pace, that it stands out massively. It later reverts to attack mode but not before Bonded have caused the odd eyebrow to be raised and demonstrates another string to the band’s bow. For me, it’s a rather wonderful song that acts as a double-edged sword; on the one hand, it delivers a fitting finale to the record by injecting a little variety. On the other hand, it makes me wish we had seen a little more of this side of Bonded elsewhere on the album.
If I’m being entirely honest, for my tastes, the mid-late section of ‘Rest In Violence’ suffers from being a little unremarkable. The execution, hunger and desire of these musicians in unquestionable and the record bounds along breathlessly for the most part. But in my opinion, ‘Rest In Violence’ would arguably be even better with a little more variation. All-out attack is great, but I want that tempered occasionally.
Nevertheless, this is the only criticism that I can possibly level at Bonded, who have otherwise delivered a highly impressive and professional album, chock full of heady thrash metal that cleverly and successfully blends the old with the new. Thrash fan? Then make sure that Bonded deservedly find their way into your collection.
The Score of Much Metal: 85%
Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: