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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Review: Kobold – Technofascism

Label: Jackhammer Music

Date: March 14th, 2022

It’s not every day you get a full length album that features ten tracks with each of them having a guest appearance. Usually there’s one or two, but more than ten? Myself, I cannot remember I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. Most of Kobold’s guests took positions behind the microphone but there are a few others. Speaking of those vocalists, it’s almost a “who’s who” of Serbian metal (hardcore, punk…) scene. So, while this might be a weird decision, it could serve as a regular dictionary of Serbian underground.

As for the music itself, the things are much less weird. Kobold, on what is their third full length record, offers a fairly straight forward approach. “Technofascism” is thrash metal in its essence, with just a few touches outside the genre’s limitations. To be absolutely clear, we’re talking about Bay Area thrash, most of all. The most obvious comparisons would be with the latest efforts of the titans such as Exodus, as a primary influence, and Testament. Now, Kobold distinguishes themselves from these bands by being a bit more technical in their creation. Almost progressive in a few parts, but still far more on the aggressive side than the contemplative.

Then again, you have a track such as “Neosynthesis”, which leans further on the atmospheric side of music. Once more, not a usual choice of direction, but it works and doesn’t stick out of the primary goal of the record.

Now, the elements of Kobold’s creation I’ve mentioned above, which yield away from the expected, are less obvious, but add a bit of charm without whom “Technofascism” would be just another thrash metal album.

First and foremost, there’s quite a few moments when the band dives into the modern day melodic death metal. Altogether, the record itself sounds quite modern, which is to be expected from a band of youngsters. But it’s the contemporary take on the tradition of the genre at hand, so the old school fans should not frown away. Well, perhaps the technicality of Kobold might be a turning away point, but that’s a whole other story.

Back to the additional ingredients to thrashing inferno. Considering the title of the record and the themes present in a bunch of songs here, it comes as no surprise that Kobold uses samples and industrial undertones on a couple of occasions. Basically, those are present to complete the picture of technological degeneration of human race. So, there’s nothing wrong with these inserts.

The last one of these is absolutely the weirdest. Metallica. And no, I’m not talking about the old Metallica. Precisely, I’m talking about “St. Anger” days of these megastars. And no, I’m not even talking about the sandpaper sound of the album in question. Especially since “Technofascism” sounds like thunder, production-wise. Take a close listen to the opening instrumental, “Hatred Speedfuck”. There’s an obvious reference to the title track of the infamous Metallica record. A couple more of those can be found throughout the record.

Most bands would find this an insult, but it’s definitely there. Me, I kind of like the album, so again, I have no problem with this. Well, perhaps it could’ve been a hint, instead of a direct pinpoint to parts of Metallica songs. But that’s just about it.

As far as my personal taste goes, I was never into overly technical thrash. The foundations of “Technofascism” are just my cup of tea, but I’m not that much into these decorative pieces. However, the record is a decent head banger. Whether or not you’re going to enjoy it comes down to your own preferences.