posted on 4/2005 By:
I’ve been lucky enough to get to review some outstanding albums this year, several of which are sure to end up on my end of year “best of” list. That list already has a lot of names penciled in, even at this early stage. The run of good luck continues, but one album that WON’T be appearing is Audiopain’s The Traumatizer. Not because it’s not a great album, but because its been out for a while. Since last summer, actually. But if I had heard this then, it probably would have been a dark horse contender as one of my favorites of the year, and hopefully this second wave of publicity will earn The Traumatizer the attention it deserves.
Audiopain have been at it for quite some time, but The Traumatizer is their first full length. Formed in Norway in the late 90’s as a band that played a bit of everything—metal, rock, industrial, etc., they eventually focused on metal full time and changed their name to Audiopain. Since then they have released three EPs and a couple splits, but have really hung their hat on the doing the live thing. In support of this, the band proclaims that they use no overdubbing in the studio, in order to preserve a sound that can be replicated live. Their early work was a venomous blend of black thrash, but over the years the band seems to have placed greater influence on thrash, and has slowed the tempo somewhat, usually residing toward the high end of mid tempo. These guys clearly have an affinity for Kreator, but what is refreshing about Audiopain is that rather than simply regurgitating a continuous stream of Pleasure to Kill riffs, they’ve crafted an authentic style that is traditional/old school thrash but also incorporates vestiges of black metal and echoes of forward thinking legends Death and Voivod to create something that sounds familiar without becoming wholly derivative. Sverre Daehli, whose contemptuous scream compares favorably to late era Chuck Schuldiner, also plays in Virus, where he partners with members of fellow thrash beasts Aura Noir and Inferno—two of the 3 bands (Nocturnal Breed being the fourth) that join Audiopain on the new Uberthrash split.
The neck punishing “Believer” opens the album in style with a flourish of razor sharp riffing and nimble bass lines. Most of the six songs are around the six to seven minute mark, allowing plenty of time to fire off an endless supply of riffs, and songs are well developed and flow nicely. The instrumental “Thrash Mental” is the shortest track, but its three minutes gives the song just enough time to work its damage before overstaying its welcome. “Religion of Reality” is an eight minute closer that plods along at a brooding, head nodding pace for the first few minutes before bursting forward with a speedy, crunching picking pattern. The repeating off kilter guitar run is an immediate hook on the exceptional chugging “Living With Humans”. Conversely, the title track has fierce riffing and hammer-on work that is more traditional thrash work, but equally infectious. Audiopain, a three piece, are tight and deliver the material with sharpness and punch. The bass gets more attention in the mix than usual, and makes good use of it, and all three musicians get the job done with proficiency.
If you missed The Traumatizer when it was released last year, take advantage of this late notice and give it a listen. Vendlus is also releasing two of Audiopain’s early EPs, Contagious and 1986, a year which the band considers to be the musical equivalent of 0 AD. The Traumatizer will continue to be very well received by thrash fans and is a welcome respite from the over saturated death thrash scene.
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