Perhaps my first impression of this album may sound a bit puerile to some but, HOLY FUCK! Lich King has put out a thrash classic of, if you forgive the cliché, epic proportions!
The lyrics on the album are, at times, a bit tongue in cheek, but it isn´t for a lack of respect for the music itself, on the contraire, I think this is the Lich King way of pointing out the redundant in metal, take the opening of the album, ¨Cheesy Metal Intro¨, you have a deep English aristocratic voice, wind lightly howls as a whippoorwill or loon eerily calls in the background and rustling leaves set a scene of nocturnal decay; ever so slightly a chaotic violin builds...
"And lo the Lich King rose to power
he smote his enemies and sat, cackling, upon a ruling chair of human bone
but he was not satisfied
he saw the kingdoms on the horizon and was angered
he leveled his sword and a new maelstrom was begun
the innocent, beset by the corpse of old, fought as they could, but were undone
for the lich king is fierce (the violin stops, all goes quiet) and he is... wicked awesome!"
This is followed by a killer guitar intro, thunderous explosions...tap, tap, tap on the cymbal and we are shoved head first into the ridiculously long titled "Attack of the Wrath of the War of the Death of the Strike of the Sword of the Blood of the Beast" which is pure Ruthie's Inn inspired whirlwind of crunch....yes, the Lich King is truly wicked awesome!
Gotta love it! I'm hooked like a big mouth bass on the end of Billy Bob Jimbo's line, it's thrash metal to perfection. Lich King has already thrown their cards onto the table, and it's a Royal fuckin' Flush!
Lich King plays pure thrash in every sense of the word, their lyrics comment on everything from some cubicle hell bound pen pusher snapping in "Office Politics" (I wonder which one of them did the Milton Waddams imitation) to the liberating zombie horror of "Toxic Zombie Onslaught".
I've listened to this album about six times so far, a first for me here at ThrashHead central, and I've gotta tell ya, there is metal genius in there...you may think I am insane on a track like "Predator". But, I contest, that any band who can pull off putting the timeline of one of my favorite popcorn flicks to awe-inspiring uber thrash without sounding lame, must have talent! Billy's laugh is a nice touch!
Geezus, these guys know how to play! The entire album is extremely clean and tight, with a production value like thrash albums of old...this is not a hindrance mind you, it only adds to the authenticity of the music you are listening to. Blasting drums, metal as hell vocals, killer bass (ala Lilker) and guitar work; speaking of which, there is sick riffing throughout, the end of "Cold Steel Machine" is sweet!
They're not eloquent, no, they are in your fuckin' face irreverent, perhaps in the realm of Billy Milano and the boys back in the day without goin' over the edge...I don't get a pretentiousness vibe from Lich King. You can just tell these guys really celebrate metal by having fun. One might say that they sing their own praises on my favorite track for instance....uhh, well I had best keep the title to that myself or I'll end up bleeding out atop of a black altar deep in the woods somewhere; I'm sure you can guess (listen to album below)...I don't hear an ego trip, one part even comes across as slightly self-deprecating: "I'd rather listen to... us"
Goddamn, I wish I had been alerted to these dudes sooner, cause I shit you not, this is the most entertaining time I've had listening to a thrash band in a long, long, long ass time. Even the naysayers declaring that thrash isn't re-establishing itself as a preeminent form of metal but, rather, is just a phase of nostalgia, is soundly answered on this album with the song "Thrash Resurgence":
Intro to the song:
Man:"Hey there little girl what's you favorite kind of music?"
Little girl: "I luf frash medal"
Man's voice sounds as if it's asking in disbelief: "What?"
Little girl: "THRASH METAL!!"
Blast beat, crunch supreme ensues...
"Just another song with thrash in the name
Just another band with no chance of fame
Why do they rise up?
Where do they come from?
Hordes of slackers with thrash on the brain
New age of youth that live against the grain
Their time was over
What the hell's up with the thrash resurgence?
Rise up, march on, tread the earth again
Heads bang, fists raise, more monsters than men
They can't stop us now
Psychopathic ape men dominate the form
Purest form of metal catches on and is reborn
What did they come for?
They shouldn't be here
Something terrible is looming overhead
Join the legion, walk amongst the dead
We've always been here
They're wrong this is not a thrash resurgence
Underground we continued to feed
Now your children feel our primal lust and heed the call"
Little Girl: "Thrash Metal!"
Yes! You've just been knocked the FUCK OUT! This is Exodus style metal, it's fun, crunch as fuck and just made for the pits with its sick rhythms which, I have declared many times over, many newschool thrash bands lack. The best thing about Lich King? They sound exactly like....Lich King, yep this ain't no cover band pretending to be their idols here, they are their own favorite band; and you know what? That's cool with me, cause that's what thrash needs; fresh, inspired and friggen original!
All the tunes are great, beginning to end...that is mighty rare today and these guys must just tear it up live, I'd love to see the pit for "I Destroy"...killer!
The album closes with the narrator once again:
"And lo the lich king rose to power
He smote his enemies and sat, cackling, upon the ruling chair...
(Coughing and the voice goes from a deep British inflection to almost nerdy, American W.A.S.P), Sorry I said "the" not "tha"... can I get some lemon water?"
Little Girl: "Thrash Metal Rules! Thrash Metal Rules! Thrash Metal Rules!...Lich King"
Man whispers (probably dad): "Now Yell It."
Little Girl: "LICH KING!"
HAHAHAHA..classic! The whole album clearly demonstrates that they take their music very seriously, while having a blast doing it, and that they're not about being "rock stars". I can't believe these guys haven't been signed yet. But, that may be for the better, let them build up their own loyal following and make every damn cent they deserve for such outstanding music. A label may just bleed 'em dry anyhow.
" Straight from the 80's and old school", it seems the undead sorcerer king thinks much as I do, that thrash is the "purest form of metal"!
Now, as I bring this hyperbole laden review to a close, I am gonna roll "Black Metal Sucks" one more time....Damn! I said it didn't I? Shhhhhh, do you hear that? What the fug is that scratching at my door? Oh shit....someone call 911 it's the hordes of Marduk and Cradle of Filth comin' to get me!