UK thrashers Onslaught have become one of THE bands that are now synonymous with the brilliance of and endurance of today's thrash movement and it is to the delight of fans and critics around the world when the band announces the release of a record… Time once again to prepare, because the band, led by charismatic singer Sy Keeler and powerhouse guitar duo Nige Rockett and Andy Rosser-Davies, is set to set the world of thrash on fire again with new album "V1". Put simply, if you like your thrash metal 'Uncompromising' and with that extra UK edge, then this is the album for you and September 23rd 2013 is your wake-up call.
On first listen tracks such as "Chaos Is King" (the furious opener), "Children Of The Sand", and "Dead Man Walking" pin ears to the speakers and prove that a move to producer 'Plec' Johansson (who mixed the finished article) has given the Keeler vocal an edge that even their definitive 80's years couldn't quite capture. With a groove that is dominant, Onslaught are once again where they should be; ripping up the form book!
"Even at this early, early stage," says guitarist Rockett, "everyone who has heard "VI" has different stand out tracks…. "Chaos Is King" is a very worthy opening track for an Onslaught album, right up there with "Let There Be Death" and "Born For War". Definitely the most aggressive song we have ever written, it's a real relentless thrash out from start to finish that really pushed the boundaries of our playing to the max. It's actually a prequel to the track "Code Black" on the last album lyrically. If you listen to the intro of "Code Black", you will hear the end of "Chaos Is King" ... There was a lot of forward planning involved in this."
"Children Of The Sand" is Onslaught's biggest experiment to date without question. Lyrically it reflects the fragile situation in the Middle East, which is inherently caused by religion and the indoctrination it breeds. The music paints a very dark, eastern sounding backdrop for the lyrics and we've actually incorporated a 'real string section' and 'female vocals' to enhance the whole theme!"
"Dead Man Walking" is another different kind of track for Onslaught. It has this kind of brutal and ferocious Judas Priest vibe to it. You can feel the hate as soon as the first note kicks in..!"
Onslaught were formed in Bristol, England by Nige Rockett (guitar) and Steve Grice (drums) in 1982 and began life under the influence of second generation, hard-core punk, but exploiting a strong love for the more metallic, they would quickly search out this more defined style and secure a deal to release first album, the dark and anarchic "Power From Hell".
In 1986, with the addition of new vocalist Sy Keeler, the band then signed to Music For Nations and released what has probably become their definitive record of the time, "The Force". Containing thrash classics like "Let There Be Death" and "Metal Forces", it would receive rave reviews across the world that would catapult the band into the higher echelons of thrash. Sad then, that it's follow up, "In Search Of Sanity" (released on London Records in 1989), would prove, despite being the band's biggest selling LP of the period, to be the end, seeing the break up the band's strongest line up.
You can't keep a good beast down though! 14 years later, in 2005, Keeler was back, and the first chord of Onslaught's return was let loose….! The band signed a new deal with Candlelight, recording that all-important 4th studio album "Killing Peace" (with Andy Sneap - Exodus, Arch Enemy). The fiery vitriol and all important angst that had dominated the early years returned, and has continued to be all-present during this and the band's last 2011 album "Sounds Of Violence", recorded with Jacob Hansen.
Puffing out their chests and blasting away with a new drummer in Michael Hourihan, the live shows for "Sounds Of Violence" are now rightly seen as a stepping stone to this latest masterpiece, but as Rockett tells us, the new title just seems to sum this band up…., "When all the songs were complete, none of the titles really sounded like an album title or actually suited the cover's theme. Seeing as this would be our 6th studio album we decided on the simplicity of "VI" as it gives us lots of options in-keeping with the bands history….. The cover art was painted by Par Oloffson, who has done covers for bands like Immortal and Immolation. The basic idea came from Jeff and I. Jeff did a quick mock-up of the 3 skulls design and Par's ideas were magic."
And, on the effect of Hourihan (who makes his recording debut with the band on "V1")? "Simple. WOW! He's a phenomenal drummer and has undoubtedly injected a whole new level of energy and aggression into the Onslaught battery... It was incredible hearing some of the drum patterns he came up with for the album!!!
Without doubt, Onslaught are once again where they should be; putting out a record that challenges the norm, and makes a statement to a world that has become darker and, yes also more brutal. This record crushes, plain and simple.