Thrash is a genre that is rather tricky. It is rather rigid with its structure, and it is quite hard to do unique things with its scope after so many years of so many distinguished metal bands. And on the other hand, if you break out of the mold and try to do newer things it just spoils the atmosphere and gambles with true strength of the thrash experience.
Athrox attempts to do the second thing with a relatively unique approach, they tried to mix the exuberance of heavy metal at its basest form with the tight riffing and aggressiveness of thrash. While there are a few instability at times I was quite impressed with their approach.
Athrox comes from Italy, a place from which is not really known for its thrash outfit. Yet, their riffing is quite exquisitely appropriate for the machine gun like delivery that is characteristic of good thrash bands. These guys know how to write tight and memorable riff that induce a strong desire to head bang, when they put their mind up to it. But, they also have slower and epic parts that have reminded me of Judas Priest and even Iron Maiden at times. The total mixture is a bit awkward at times, but kept my blood pumping through the sheer passion of the musicians.
The vocal is also quite varied throughout the album, ranging from total clean singing to rather angry and aggressive growling and screams. Ian knows his own strengths and tries to show off his ability to quickly change his singing style. But, the duel guitar by Frank and Syro are the real star of the album, which is quite apparent with their blood pumping riffs and licks and occasional solos. The guitar work is excellent all throughout the work and really drives the rest of the music. Lobo does commendable work on bass, giving the whole music a backbone to stand on. And the constant pounding drums by Aroon gives the listeners a constant rhythm to keep on head banging.
Yet, I must return to the actual music and the fusion of genres that the band is working with. Cause herein lies the conundrum, while a casual listener or some with a varied taste and sense of appreciation for the varied nature of heavy metal music might find the work enjoyable and even count the band’s efforts as commendable, another might not agree wholeheartedly. People who are fans of heavier genre might find the work not being heavy enough, and who like hard rock/heavy metal might find the work a bit too heavy at times. Then again, I am quite certain Athrox knew of the dual nature of their style and was rather aiming for the fusion just for creating their brand of metal.
In case of standout tracks, the business is quite tricky. Thrash enthusiasts will surely find the heavier tracks which are chock full of charismatic riffs like “Ashes of Warsaw”, ‘”Through the Mirror” and “Decide or Die” to be their cup of tea. And fans of heavy metal or those interested in a fusion of genres will love “Waters of Acheron” or “Imagine the Day” or “Sadness n’ Tears”, as they showcase the band’s strength at juggling genres and their range of vocal and instruments.