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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Review: Booby Trap / Pitch Black / Buried Alive – Bastards United

Label: Firecum Records

Date: November 13th, 2020

Don’t know about you, but when it comes to Portuguese thrash metal I’m completely baffled. I’m beating my brain to try and recollect a name I’ve heard or a band that went through this old, forgetful, banged-up head. Unsuccessfully, I might add.

And all of a sudden I’ve got three of them on one lengthy release. Yes, this split goes over 67 minutes. Why is this information important? Basically, there are three full EP’s stacked on top of one another. And the best way to actually evaluate (or even just listen to) “Bastards United” is exactly that. As three different releases. Otherwise, by the time it’s Buried Alive’s turn you will be completely out of focus and you might lose fragments of musical comprehension.

But, let me not get ahead of myself.

First to take the stage are Booby Trap. While it may be obvious the fellas know how to thrash, they are terribly out of focus when it comes to creation itself. Their part of the split starts with a melodic introduction that sounds like it fell off “Virtual XI”. However, their six songs can easily be titled introduction to thrash. Spanning from punk (there a cover by The Exploited), through crossover, all the way to Megadeth’s angry grunts and “Alcoholcalipse”. Guess where the latter takes its influence from? Yes, you got it right!

Hence, wide array of creative input, but an almost total lack of fusing them together. Fun while it lasts, like a compilation of who’s who in thrash metal history, but still feels like a couple of different bands placing one song each.

Pitch Black, on the other hand, is totally in focus. Thrash metal of modern date is what you’ll hear. I would even claim that the guys take certain bits and pieces from metalcore, or even death metal out of Florida. Myself, I’m imagining Testament with traces of Obituary in Bullet for my Valentine’s recording studio. Along with those extra crunchy, strong and suggestive vocals, Pitch Black surely energizes. A band to look for, no doubt. By the way, they are the youngest of the three, with almost twenty years behind.

That I didn’t mention at the start. But this surely is a deep view into the history of Portuguese thrash. Of their respective status on the home scene I have no clue, but given their age it just might be all three of them are well respected.

You see, even I have lost concentration as “Bastards United” is still spinning.

So, let’s hear what the oldest of the bunch, spawned way back in 1991, have to say. As very much expected, there’s some old school thrashing here. US styled, with hints of crossover spread around like fine condiments. Though nothing out of the ordinary, Buried Alive makes a fine example of straight forward musical creativity. Without much philosophy, even in the socially aware lyrics, the quartet displays a clear direction towards catchy tunes and memorable lines. I would prefer a bit of a stronger vocal appearance, but overall Buried Alive (yes, I would prefer a stronger name too) takes you exactly where you want to go.

I still cannot shake the feeling there may have been at least two more bands on this split release. With such a length, “Bastards United” could have offered a broader overview of Portuguese thrash metal scene. Still, for an inquisitive mind such as mine, it is still at least somewhat of an opportunity to get an idea of what Lusitania has to offer. Other than black metal. And Moonspell, of course.