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Album Reviews : Shrapnel – Hellbound

By on May 11, 2010

l_67eb328825c3420a8e794bbc7ae26a46Ten years after their inception, Perth’s Shrapnel (not to be confused with the Brisbane thrashers of the same name) have finally released their debut album; the appropriately titled Hellbound. With Louis ‘Disaster’ Rando (of The Furor, Mhorgl, Pathogen) and Andrew Doepel (ex-Vespers Descent) at the helm, it’s no surprise that the thrash contained within is right up there with early Kreator and Slayer in absolute ferocity. Despite four of the songs being written back around 1999, and four being brand newies, Hellbound is 80’s thrash through and through.

With the exception of the final track, the album sprints along at a blistering pace with no rest in sight. Every track is a relentless barrage of rapid-fire held together by impeccably played drums. There’s at least one solo on every track (and every single one is absolutely ripping) with guests Rob Thorpe (Mhorgl) , Neil ‘Empath’ Walton and Alestair Brown handling those duties. All of this is pulled off with a natural aggression that is severely lacking from modern thrash. Disaster’s devilish vocals are as raspy as they come, dragging the overall sound towards the more blackened corner of thrash. Lyrically, you’ll find everything you could possibly hope for; demons bursting out of hell, crosses burning and skulls being crushed. “Friday Night Thrash Attack” and “Six Pack Attack” bring a bit of moshing and drinking into the mix, with the gang vocals in the latter bringing Municipal Waste to mind.

Just as traditional thrash should, most of the tracks here serve up similar offerings, just with slightly varying degrees of speed. That is, until closer “The Power Is Mine”. Clocking in at almost 8 minutes (which is a long time on an album that only just breaks the half hour mark), it jogs along at a relaxing mid-pace, with bursts of speed thrown in here and there. With a very short visit into spoken-word territory and the last three minutes essentially being a fucking fantastic solo, it’s a spectacular ending.

Production-wise, it’s a spot-on balance. It’s loud and clear enough to hear the riffs, but still has that customary dirty, slightly-thin sound. Hellbound is thrash the way it was originally intended. 9/10

Band: Shrapnel
Album: Hellbound
Year: 2010
Genre: Thrash metal
Origin: Perth, Western Australia
Label: Independent

Track listing
1. Hellgrinder
2. I Am The Hell
2. Friday Night Thrash Attack
4. Trample the Altar <- Reviewers choice
5. Hang on the Cross
6. Cynic Horde
7. Six Pack Attack
8. The Power Is Mine


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.