Written by Alex Stojanovic
Rise To Power
Strike Fast Strike Hard
Bow Down To The Clowns
All Seeing Eye
Addicted To The Smell Of Death
A Perfect Day To Die
Release Date: August 7, 2020
Label: AFM Records
Dave Garnett - Vocals / Nige Rockett - Rhythm guitars / Wayne Dorman - Lead guitars
Jeff Williams - Bass / James Perry - Drums
I think Onslaught reached the peak of heaviness with VI. Every band, and I mean EVERY single band, especially thrash and death metal bands, always say that their new album is their heaviest, thrashiest, most vicious attack ever, it has become laughable at this point. Generation Antichrist picks up where VI left off. Does it beat VI in terms of viciousness? No, but it's on the same level, and that's not a bad thing. It's the band's fourth album since their classic comeback album Killing Peace from 2007, and first to feature Dave Garnett, along with Wayne Dorman on guitar and James Perry on drums. It seems that over the last three albums, the element Onslaught always aims for is pure sonic destruction.
As the record begins with "Rise To Power", we hear the sounds of a radio being switched through multiple channels, before a soaring riff sets the table. This will undoubtedly get "HEY"s going in a live setting. The aggression increases ever-so-slightly with a mid-tempo double-kick attack, and it ends with a short vocal section. As the brutality builds slowly on this track, it leaves you wondering what could be lurking around the corner. Well, we then head into "Strike Fast Strike Hard" where the throttle is pushed forward exponentially, and Onslaught's vicious thrash attack comes in and slams you like a freight train. The first thing I noticed when I heard the main riff was that it sounds like the main riff in Sepultura's "Arise". The thrash on this record is definitely vicious, but there's not a song on here that can match the intensity of "Chaos Is King" from VI.
When it comes to lyrical themes, Onslaught have always been in their comfort zone, singing about anti-religion, war and death. However, we see them changing it up a bit on this record, and touching on some politcal subjects on "Bow Down To The Clowns" as well as the topic of surveillance on "All Seeing Eye". Of course, we get the anti-religion themes on "Generation Antichrist" and "Religiousuicide", as well as the war theme on "Addicted To The Smell Of Death". Last year, the band gave a taste of the new record with the track "A Perfect Day To Die", which was originally sung by Sy Keeler. However, now that he is gone, the vocals were re-recorded by Garnett, and the two versions don't sound all that different.
Now, what would a review be without addressing some of the flaws, no matter how minor they may be. What really would've made this album a perfect one was the inclusion of one or two mid-tempo songs in the style of "Planting The Seeds Of Hate", "Code Black" or "Children Of The Sand". "Empires Fall" is a bit in that kind of vein, but a couple of songs with a slightly slower tempo would've made for some of the heaviest and most headbangable moments. I also feel that there's a bit of redundancy going on in the songwriting with the speedy riffs, aggressive choruses and gang vocals. While the album is very very strong, I felt that the redundancy made some of the album a bit predictable.
To sum it all up, Generation Antichrist is one of this year's essential thrash releases. To those who had their doubts about this album after the departure of Sy Keeler, you have nothing to worry about because the vocals are top notch, and very much in the vein of how Sy sounds. The guitar work from Nige Rockett and Wayne Dorman is crushing, the bass from Jeff Williams is pounding, and the drumming from James Perry is rampaging. 35 years after Power From Hell, Onslaught are still firing on all cylinders, delivering thrash the way Satan likes it, and even giving bands that are 10-20, even 30 years their junior, a run for their money. There's so many riffs on here that would even give Kerry King the heebie-jeebies. Believe me, when most of these songs are played live, there will be blood. Awesome job once again gentlemen! Looking forward to seeing you live when COVID-19 is over.
Highs: Aggressive old-school thrash played to perfection.
Lows: Could've used one or two mid-tempo songs.