With the stack of promos at waist height, we usually wouldn’t get around to a two-track split, but when the name Audiopain comes across my desk, I take notice. These Norwegian heshers have been dealing out ass-kicking thrash for some time now, without garnering the attention they deserve. Although they’re violently old-school in their ideals (they have a release titled 1986), they’re one of the few bands that truly worship vintage thrash without sounding like a clone of one of the behemoths of the golden era (with that requisite modern spit-shined production, of course). Their sound doesn’t fit within the typical Bay Area, East Coast, German, or South American schools, so their material doesn’t sound like an album you’ve heard a hundred times. “The Memory of Man” delivers a fierce mid-to-uptempo Audiopain blast. The riffing style tends to be atypical for the genre, and the vocals nearly blackened. This time around Apollyon (Aura Noir, Immortal) lends his hellish blackened throat to the effort. Definitely a thrash band worth your time if you’re not looking to buy another Bonded by Blood knockoff.
While Audiopain are a known quantity, Nekromantheon were new to me, and holy shit what a find. Turns out the best match for Norwegian thrash beasts is simply more Norwegian thrash beasts, as Nekromantheon more than hold up their end of the bargain (and it turns out kit-man Christian Holm plays in both outfits). “Annihilation Spree” is an appropriately named onslaught of speedy thrash bloodlust in the vein of the first couple of Slayer records. There are some great riffs here, and some well-placed tempo changes as well. Derivative, yes, but these guys really hit the spot for me, and I’ll definitely be picking up their full length when it hits the streets on Duplicate later this year.