LA based metallers, Blaze the Thunder are back with their sophomore release. The new album is titled This is Blaze the Thunder and it will be released everywhere on the 20th of October this year.
This is Blaze the Thunder was produced, mixed and engineered by Cameron Webb (Motorhead, NOFX) and mastered by Paul Logus (Pantera, Anthrax, Amon Amarth). Blaze the Thunder were a complete unknown to me when GBHBL were offered the opportunity to check out their debut release back in late 2017. You can read the full review of that release, Tonight the Revenge Starts, by following the link. In short, it blew me away so to say I was excited to hear of their second release is an understatement.
Blaze the Thunder are a three piece with a new line-up built around the founder Roberto de la Rossa who looks after guitars and vocals. With him on bass we have Gene Migaki and on drums, we have Eduardo Baldo.
This is Blaze the Thunder comes with 9 tracks on it weighing in at around 32 minutes long. We get underway with the opener, Thunder. They don’t mess about, hitting you instantly with a huge explosion of instruments that settles into a galloping riff that instantly gets you headbanging along. There is a nice, raw edge to the production that suits the music perfectly. The rasping vocals have plenty of punk attitude and I love the vocal hooks in the chorus. It’s energetic and genuinely enjoyable to listen to, getting even better as we near the end with a huge screaming solo and sped up drums. The 4 minutes passed in seconds with a song that will be a pit filler live. It’s a strong start that continues with Midnight.
There is a real old school, traditional vibe to the intro riff and the cross over thrash styled verses hit you with wave after wave of punchy drums, quick riffs and attitude filled vocals. The gang vocals bit remind me, in a good way, of Municipal Waste. Not a bad band to be compared too though the traditional metal vibe that comes through the riffs and the solos gives Blaze the Thunder a unique twist on the cross over thrash genre. Back to Midnight and we hit a little bass solo that allows you to catch your breath before it builds back up into a chaotic section of intense instrumentation and vocals to really let loose to. That ending is fire!
Once comes next and is much shorter at just over 2 minutes long but somehow the band manage to squeeze everything possible out of that short time. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. The rhythm is perfect for headbanging along with and the drums are insane. I love the little bit of variety in the vocals with the speech like backing vocals. It’s clever and just damn good music to help you release some of your own frustrations to.
The enjoyment continues with Crucify. There is a deeper tone to the music and a nice, solid chug on the riff. The vocals are a little monotone in the intro verse but it kind of works well enough for the style of music. You quickly get passed that section anyway and into a track that has plenty of groove from the bass and a nice meaty tone on the drums.
Hell Gazer is next up and as well as having a wicked title, it is one of the punkiest tracks on the album. The bouncy riff and catchy drums are so cool. The verses are spat out at pace before hitting a catchy chorus. The hook really gets stuck in your head and you can feel your adrenaline levels rise just sitting down and listening to this one. This song will get even the most stubborn of us moving and jumping around. I love how the lead guitar joins in with the last repeats of the chorus, blazing out a fiery line behind the vocals. Brilliant.
Forsaken comes up next and has glorious old school start. It sounds traditional and hits with huge tones and a stop start beat. The little guitar flourishes are really cool and then it all comes together into a rocking song with a glorious rhythm and a huge chorus. The lead guitar in the chorus is perfect. This is a real bar setter of a song. The bass lines are intense and rattle through you but it is all about the lead guitars on this one for me. We reluctantly move on passed the excellent Forsaken into Sorrow.
That reluctance passes quickly though as we get hit by a huge intro with cymbal heavy drum crashes and huge distorted guitars. The gang vocals intro verse is really intense, and we get some proper metal growling in the background. This is a bit of an anthem. A chant. Raise your fists in the air and bellow along with Blaze The Thunder.
The last song, properly, on This is Blaze the Thunder is called Remains. As good as everything has been so far, this song ramps it up to another level. Faded feedback plays out, a morose melody plays over the top and then bang! Explosion of brilliance. Words can’t do this song justice. This is a must hear. The chanted vocals in the intro are perfect. The melody is gorgeous. The mid tempo drums grab you by the scruff of your neck and force your head to bang. I love the singing here and how the song drops into gentler tones just to build back up with a full and fulfilling assault. Wow.
The album then closes out with an instrumental version of the track Sorrow. It’s really cool to see an instrumental of a heavier track added on to an album. the norm seems to be to add an acoustic version of a song so it’s nice to see Blaze the Thunder go differently. And it’s really cool to listen to. Not just a novelty. With the vocals stripped away, you can really appreciate every note and every drum hit.
And so, with great sadness, This is Blaze the Thunder comes to a close. I’ll only be sad for a minute though as I am quickly going to be hitting repeat. Especially on the track Remains. I reckon I have played this track about 30 times so far and I will happily listen to it again, and again. It is songs like this that make Blaze the Thunder stand out for me. It isn’t alone either. Not far behind it are songs like Thunder, Once, Forsaken, Hell Gazer, Sorrow. Those are just the phenomenal tracks and that’s 70% of the album. The other songs are just very good. You would take that as a band, surely?
Being objective, I guess I could understand some people maybe not loving the raw production. I personally feel like it adds to the album but I do know plenty of people who prefer a modern, clean edge. There are also moments where the vocals can seem a bit monotone. They are fleeting but, real and again it could be a mixed response to these. In my camp, I think it suits the cross over thrash style perfectly. I think these guys have something really special about them. Not just a thrash band, not just traditional, not just cross over. They take the best of all those genres and then combine it into their own sound and it works beautifully.
Head on over to Blaze the Thunder on Bandcamp and grab yourself a preorder of This is Blaze the Thunder and some merch from here.
Blaze the Thunder Links
This Is Blaze The Thunder by Blaze the Thunder (Self Released)
The Final Score - 9/10