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Album Reviews : Terrorizer – Caustic Attack

By on September 19, 2018

When it was announced in 2011 that ex-Hate Eternal percussionist Tim ‘The Missile’ Yeung had replaced Pete ‘The Feet’ Sandoval in Morbid Angel, indefinitely, many fans were caught off guard by the exit of one of heavy metals preeminent percussive masterminds, from one of the greatest outfits ever assembled to perform death metal.

Conflicting reports suggested Sandoval needed time off to heal a back injury, then it was broadcast that he had found God and he “…would never wanna be back or playing in a satanic band now that I found Jesus Christ.”

Many find solace in scripture and the enduring message of Jesus Christ, so it can be assumed that Sandoval eventually found some of that truth in his God-given gift to perform behind the kit producing brutal grindcore and death metal.

Sandoval’s return to the public sphere through his colossal performance on Caustic Attack is certainly cause for celebration. That he has reproduced his form from the flawed Morbid Angel opus, Heretic (’03), is magnificent.

Bassist/ vocalist Sam Molina and Monstrosity’s percussionist Lee Harrison performs on guitar to complete the Terrorizer line up in 2018. They both offer a meritorious effort, particularly the very talented Harrison.

Harrison keeps in lock step with Sandoval, nary an alternate picked stroke is wasted on the string as he expertly switches between chromatic run sequences and open chord statements. Molina remedies the single gripe the reviewer found across Monstrosity’s The Passage of Existence (’18), that is, the monotone nature of said bands stoic vocal performance courtesy of Mike Hrubovcak.

Molina offers a bass and vocal performance similar to the excellent Steve Tucker from current day Morbid Angel. Not one to stand out, Molina, as it is for Tucker, still manages to offer a vocal full of personality that keeps the listener engaged as Sandoval negotiates interstellar overdrive behind the drum kit.

The highlights? Opener “Turbulence” reintroduces the listener to Sandoval’s mastery as Harrison and Molina stab away at a circular riff; Seventh cut “The Downtrodden” menaces with its subtle groove; tenth cut “Failed Assassin” channels Karl Sanders (Nile) through a double harmonic scale before doubling down on triplets during the repeated breakdown that opens up at the 2:30 mark for a stellar melodic fast-break. The final cut, “Wasteland”, bulldozes the sonic senses at 1:03 with an ascending picked sequence that crashes into a brooding down picked riff at 1:25,  heaving with plutonium heaviness.

The album is defined by Sandoval’s presence, to be sure. Many lamented that the final in-studio offering featuring his deft touch may have been Terrorizer’s Jesse Pintado (Lock Up, Burjeria, Napalm Death) swan song, Darker Days Ahead (’06). Indeed, the prophetic album title sadly also signifies the death of the revered grind guitar master, Pintado.

As fine a collection of songs as Caustic Attack is for fans of brutal grindcore based death metal, it will be even better to look back on 2018 as the year Sandoval re-entered the fray. After almost 30 years of recorded music since Altars of madness (Morbid Angel– ’89), Sandoval is still the benchmark for all extreme metal drummers and percussionists.

Band: Terrorizer
Album: Caustic Attack
Year: 2018
Genre: Grindcore/ Death metal
Label: The End Records
Origin: United States

About

Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith