Metal Church - The Present Wasteland

1987 was a very important year for me. Having been introduced to the likes of Metallica and Slayer through older acquaintances friends and the invaluable guidance of the Greek Metal Hammer, it did not take long before I realised that Thrash Metal was my genre of choice. That is when the epic task of obtaining every single Thrash Metal album available began – an almost impossible task, due to the fact that the distribution of the most obscure albums of the genre was almost non-existent in my beautiful country at the time. I cannot remember how and when it happened but at some point in the early to mid-90s a copy of “Go And Live…Stay and Die”, Vendetta’s 1987 debut album, finally landed in my hands and, even though the material on offer could hardly be described as innovative, these German thrashers made enough of an impression on me so as to be genuinely pleased when I found out that twenty five years later they are about to release their fourth studio album entitled “Feed The Extermination” – an album whose review you are now about to read.

When I first informed a friend of mine who works for a Metal festival in Germany that I was listening to Vendetta’s new album his response was that what I should expect to hear a fairly average German Thrash Metal band. In some ways such a comment could be justified - “Feed The Extermination” consists of ten mid-tempo riff orientated compositions whose rhythmical structure does not pose many challenges. Having said that, I believe that for people like me who grew up listening to the works of fairly underground Thrash Metal bands such as Assassin, Darkness, Exhumer and At War, Vendetta’s fourth studio album will provide quite a few moments of real head banging quality, featuring numerous meaty riffs whose impact is ever so increased by Dan Swano’s (see Edge Of Sanity) sterling production work.

The same titled opus “Feed The Extermination” provides a dynamic opening for the album with its riffs baring close resemblance to those used by Slayer in their classic opus “Spirit In Black” (see “Seasons In The Abyss”). “Tremendous Brutality” is a simply riffed composition with a slightly unusual rhythmical structure whose main focal point is the catchy vocal melody in its refrain that keeps the momentum going, something that cannot be said for the follow-up “Cancer” whose old-school riffs are pretty average in comparison. One of the first highlights of the album is the four minute “Ovulation Bitch”, a song that features a dead catchy refrain and which is followed by the Testament sounding tunes of “Storage Of Anger” and the militaresque drum themes of “Dog In The Manger”. It is at this exact point that the album reaches its true potential with the duet “De-organ-izer” and “Abuse”, the former being another Testament influenced head banging track while the latter is a seven and a half minute atmospheric opus containing numerous atmospheric/harmonic passages filled with strong lyrics and passionate performances. “Trust In God” is another short, simply-crafted composition with a few classic Heavy Metal references a la Running Wild and “Till I’m Dead”, the last composition on offer, is another mid-tempo vocally-led track that further enhances the band’s classic Metal character.

So there you have it: twenty five years after releasing their debut album, Vendetta are ready to present us with their fourth musical offering. Will “Feed The Extermination” be the album that will help them move up the ladder and compete with leaders of the Teutonic Thrash Metal scene, such as Sodom, Kreator and Destruction? Unfortunately for them the answer is probably ‘no’, however these ten new compositions contain enough passion and energy to convince any fan of Thrash Metal that Vendetta is a band worth hearing. As for all the rest, well, your guess is as good as mine!

John Stefanis

Rating: ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)