The Great Acceleration

Written by: RUB on 06/07/2021 13:59:18

So, that’s interesting. I managed to get through the entire début album by Terminalist, thinking to myself: “Wow, that’s some insanely solid thrash here!”, without even realizing the band was Danish (and to an extent also American, apparently). Sporting a very Vektor-ish sound, their harsh shrieks and fast-paced rhythms should cater to a pretty broad fanbase. What this means is that the Copenhageners have clearly chosen a stylistic path that has already proven to be popular, yet still extreme enough to stay out of the mainstream; one they’ve dubbed hyperthrash. Drawing upon the thesis about speed by French philosopher Paul Virilio, they’ve created their own little lyrical universe within the realm of science fiction and philosophy on “The Great Acceleration”. It’s an interesting combination, and — like their idols in Vektor — coupled with the aggression of thrash and the dynamics of prog, I can already say the record is going to stand out, especially on the Danish scene.

With the opening track “Relentless Alteration”, it’s clear the band opted to kick things off in a proper fashion. This obvious pit-starter is thrash by heart, but avoids the many pitfalls the genre sometimes falls victim to. This is largely due to the element of progression being such a huge part of their soundscape; the music never sounds repetitive, instead coming across as clever and thoroughly considered. The little interplays where the fast-paced drums are reduced to the background to make room for an excellent guitar build-up, make the returning of the main riff and blast beats truly stand out. The harsh, yet decipherable lyrics set the tone for the album’s thematic universe, sporting bits of the same concepts as Vektor and lending the music a spacey and science fictional feel that complements the music well and makes it sound like one is traversing through outer space.

So it’s clear that we’re dealing with something very solid — but it doesn’t stop there. Not only is the production crisp; every, little detail is in perfect sync with the next, and makes all those changes in pace and rhythm stand out even more. Every instrument packs those testosterone-driven punches that thrash metal is renowned for. This is very much clear on the highlight piece “Terminal Dispatch”, which even packs a very natural-sounding guitar solo that however isn’t as regular a feature on “The Great Acceleration” as one would’ve hoped for within this genre. Apart from the progressive element, I even get a sense of a more crust-sounding guitar in several places on this track, which makes me think about acts such as Martyrdöd and Wolf Brigade. But since it doesn’t come at the expense of the other elements, it’s just extra layers in an already impressive soundscape.

The progressive element becomes even more apparent as “The Great Acceleration” thunders on. The third track, “Invention of the Shipwreck”, uses the first couple minutes to gather momentum and thus creates a soothing, extraterrestrial atmosphere of what sounds like space ships leading the way as its intro, before exploding into yet another energy-fueled rager, at times maybe even drawing upon the band’s fellow Danes in ORM for the build-up that occurs just before returning to the realm of thrash, ensuring that the beats per minute remain at a constant high as it should be in the thrash metal genre. By far the longest track on offer, almost clocking in at 11 full minutes, it’s definitely the standout track on “The Great Acceleration”, and is firmly placed at the centre of the album, rendering it into quite the juxtaposition of, say, the aforementioned first, very fast-paced, track.

With just five songs spanning 34 minutes, it should be obvious to anyone that the progressive element is just as much an integral part of their sound as thrash is to these guys. But by doing so, they’ve managed to create a story that the listener can witness progressing and evolving throughout the album — one that manages to sound fresh and quite the opposite of repetitive. Where in my humble opinion, the most rememberable tracks are placed in the beginning of the record, the latter half is nonetheless also quite solid. With the little twists and turns of the guitars, the soundscape never gets dull, and given how rapid the rhythms largely are, one really has to pay close attention in order to catch every little detail packed into this thing.

Does it then matter that Terminalist have obviously looked admiringly towards Vektor for inspiration? No, I don’t think so. This Danish outfit already sound like a band in their own right, and are without question already talented enough to pull this off. Whereas other bands have experienced the pitfall of sounding too much like their source of inspiration, to me Terminalist have actually managed to outdo their idols in certain aspects of their songwriting. Everything just checks: the awesome riffing, the killer rhythm sections, and the underlying groove that is simply to die for. So although this is only their début offering, I’m already very much a fan of theirs and, putting on my good ol’ red and white glasses, I’m glad to see more artists picking up the thrash torch – especially when it’s as professionally and successfully done as this. And that’s basically the feeling you get from the first listen to “The Great Acceleration” — that these newcomers already have the ability and potential to go international. Needless to say, you have to check out Terminalist before they blow up!


Download: Terminal Dispatch, Relentless Alteration, Invention of the Shipwreck, Dromocracy
For the fans of: Atheist, Death, Sadus, Vektor, Voivod
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.05.2021

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