Aortic Regurgitation are a brand new thrash metal band hailing from China. They show a lot of promise on their first release, but like any debut release it suffers from a few draw backs.
This is Thrash, which is good and it is also bad. There is a reason that thrash virtually disappeared when the 90's hit. Thrash is a very limited genre and is in itself a means to an end. If thrash metal gets too melodic it turns into power metal and if it become too brutal it becomes death metal, thrash metal is a transitional genre that thrived before heavy metal met its logical extremes. Although thrash metal is limited in its ability to diversify, it has many branches. There is a huge difference between Sarcofago's "INRI" and Anthrax's "Among the Living." Aortic Regurgitation is among the more extreme variety of thrash and borders on death metal, in a similar way to early Sepultura, Kreator and Sodom.
You have heard this release before and if what I stated in the first paragraph is true it is impossible for you not to have (assuming you are a fan of thrash metal.) The riffs on this album vary between the German and Brazilian scenes, but every now and then I hear some good ol' mid-paced "bay-area-thrash" palm muting. The fake drums are brilliantly programmed, they sound like the person behind the computer had just as much experience behind a real drum set because they sound like something a drummer would actually play. The bass playing is a highlight for me as the bassist seems to understand that it isn't always necessary to mirror the guitarist and strictly play root notes, the bass playing really shines on "Alien Worlds" and "Dementia." The vocals are good if not fairly stereotypical for extreme thrash (not that its a real problem.) The real problem is that they are mixed very poorly, and sound like they were recorded on a very poor microphone contrasting the good guitar tone.
Since I have decided that it is virtually impossible to record a unique thrash album in 2010 the only way to judge a thrash album is the memorability of the song writing itself. None of the songs on this album are really overtly memorable, the best song would have to be "Dementia," the melody that comes in at the half way point really sines and shows the band's skill as song writers. "Silent Night" is a great closer and very enjoyable. That is all I can really say about this EP, other than that it all just kinda blurs together into a homogeneous mass of thrash metal. I don't know why the longest song on this release is an instrumental, it doesn't make much sense and it reminds me of Metallica (it always bothered me that they did that.)
This is a good thrash album, and is above the bar for a debut release. The problems with memorability will no doubt be resolved on future releases that I would be very interested in hearing. This is also worth checking out if you are interested in extreme metal bands with female vocalists.
Curt's Review: 81%
Download this shit for free and bang your head!