posted on 6/2009 By:
In comparison with other English-speaking territories, metal bands that hail from Australia seem to have a greater propensity for kicking ass--though whether there's more to this phenomenon than happenstance is a debate for another time. Sociological trends aside, when that particular pedigree is swirled n' sloshed with the spirit of native sons Deströyer 666, the risks of chronic neck injury increase exponentially--and Shackles don't make empty threats. This old-schooled and new-brewed crew of thrashers kicked around just long enough to flash floodlights of potential before dispersing into the darkness.
It's an unfortunate fact that Traitors' Gate is simultaneously the band's debut and swansong. This nasty little slab of thrash metal (with an early-90's death fetish and a gnarly, blackhinged delivery) showcases a band that held serious potential. Shackles were at their best when churning full-bore, speeding along like a punked-out, cracked-out, twacked-out version of Nocturnus (sans the goofy keys, of course). The title track--the album's centerpiece and most severe trauma-dealer--is a headbanging clinic jammed with razor'd riffing and wild-ass drumming that likely would've become the band's trademark.
Granted, when Traitors' Gate slows down and embraces the primal DM vibe that oozes from that washed-out cover art, it doesn't fare as well; a point proven by the long slog of "Malignant Expulsion" and "Orgy of Corpses." And the album's brevity really makes the aforementioned (killer) title track and "Exorcised Remains" the true selling points, thus rendering it more of a gem for genre freaks than anything else. While certainly a full step or two below luminaries like Desaster or Absu, Shackles' lone serving of beer-and-a-shot blackthrash will make you want to eat the glass and piss the shards.
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