The explosion of thrash metal in the 1980s was somewhat akin to that of a dying star – dramatic, far reaching, and complete with the kind of face melting intensity that would prompt many to cower under their dining room tables. However for fans of a certain age, the only way they were going to be present at this frontline barrage is if their mum was raising some hell backstage. Which might go some way to explaining how you got that long flowing ginger hair…?
Fear not. For those without a pimped out time mobile and crazy scientist to boot, Shrapnel are the kind of 80s throwback you can get behind. Sounding like Slayer following a quick raid of the wardrobes of Metallica and Megadeth, from the off Shrapnel strike a blow as electrically charged as a Pikachu power-up party at the National Grid.
Screeching away from the starting blocks, ‘Toxic Slaughter’ displays all the characteristics of a straight-up crowd pleaser – with fists-in-air-group-chants and wrist-aching shredding that would put Freddie Krueger to shame. In a similar vein, ‘Eternal Death’ demonstrates the breadth of Shrapnel’s influences, whilst ‘Warhead’ rages with a pent-up aggression.
In fact the only niggle with Shrapnel is that they almost sound too 80s at times. Whilst the production values are a major improvement on the time, and the band has been successful in capturing the frantic raw energy of those early leaders, Shrapnel run the risk of sticking too close to their influences.
Yet, by aligning themselves with the genre greats, the band do themselves no harm in terms of their ambition. And with only two years of history behind them, Shrapnel more than exceed expectations, not just for a band hailing from Norwich – a city not exactly on the map for its metal credentials – but for any UK act looking to keep alive the flames of thrash’s blazing trail.