Thrash Bandicoot – Milwaukee Cannibal EP
Release Date: 06-01-2020
Running Time: 22:39
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
Good evening once more, my dear chums, pals, friends and associates. It is I, Dark Juan, droogie, boozer, chaser of strumpets and loser. Although my strumpet chasing is temporarily suspended due to vile contagion being abroad in our fair isle and I am obliged to haunt the spare bedchamber in Dark Juan Terrace and hurl insults at any cleric that happens to wander past. As there is a lockdown happening the opportunities for cleric abuse have shamefully been minimal to nonexistent. I did try writing a story, but it was that dystopic. I managed to depress myself and subsequently turned to the bottle. This review is fuelled by a bottle of Pinot Noir and the fact that I don’t like being told what to do by any fucker. Ever-Metal Rick gets a pass because he’s actually my boss and I have to defer to his better judgement otherwise there would be copious lawsuits because I can’t control my gob especially when I’m pissed (ask the Ever-Metal team what the staff page is like) and I might end up in trouble.
Anyway, Thrash Bandicoot (howled when I heard that one!) are a bunch of Aussies from Wollongong and they play a strange amalgam of thrash and death metal and “Milwaukee Cannibal” is a kind of concept EP about everyone’s favourite quiet and polite cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer. When I say a strange amalgam of thrash and death, you might expect something like technical or melodic death but that isn’t what you’re going to get here. These Aussie mental cases play very Bay Area circa 1990 thrash metal and then mix in the vomit fuelled, bowel tremblingly furious roar of Daniel Lever. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure it works. I know thrash is not a genre that produced classic vocalists the first time round (literally seeming like a necessary but unpleasant evil to a lot of bands) but a full-bore death growl is not suitable for thrash metal instrumentation. Which is a demerit I don’t want to have to apply to Thrash Bandicoot because they are all spectacularly competent players and the music has a charm and fun factor all its own, but the growl kind of spoils it a bit. The music needs a kind of Phil Heal vocal to make it pop. Every song on here is very good though, if not exceptional, and shows a band with considerable promise growing in potential. I want to hear a fucking fantastic album off them so bad it hurts.
The music is speedy, precise thrash very much in the vein of their main influence, Testament and the vocal clearly is influenced by the Buffalo meatgrinders Cannibal Corpse. As is the utterly terrible artwork of the cover reminiscent of “Butchered At Birth” et al. I’m kind of at a loss for words because the influences, style and songwriting are all so clearly defined by the band’s influences and there’s no sort of individuality creeping through the music to make it their own or to make it interesting to take apart and discuss. Even the production of the record sounds like a Testament album. It has no soul. The music and the playing is almost mechanical. There is no je ne sais quoi, no indefinable something that makes Thrash Bandicoot stand out from their two influences and that makes Dark Juan sad. This record doesn’t have the infectious sense of fun that other releases I have reviewed recently have had. And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe the jocular band name gave me a false sense of what they are about.
So, on that rather downbeat note I recommend Thrash Bandicoot to your attention if you like classic thrash, or death metal. They will at best be an occasional listen for a quick 20 minute blast down the motorway, but they will never be your favourite band. Standout track on the record is four songs in, called ‘Class Warfare’ and it is satisfyingly heavy, but you’re not going to be losing any limbs and your face will be getting a light scorching instead of being burned off.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System gives Thrash Bandicoot 5/10. Average middle of the road score for an average record played by a band with the potential to be quite special. Must try harder, gentlemen.
01. Milwaukee Cannibal
03. Trapped Society
04. Class Warfare
Jack Insley-Flowers – Bass/Backing vocals
Matt Perkins – Lead Guitar/Backing vocals
Daniel Lever – Rhythm Guitar/Lead vocals
Tim Worley – Drums
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