Okay, so everybody understands the appeal of the Ferrari. Who can resist the draw of 490 horsepower, 340 foot pounds of torque and 0-60 in 4.8 seconds? And, of course, it’s so, so sexy. But you’re smart and you understand that, even if you can afford it, the problem with ‘sexy’ is that it’s often synonymous with ‘high maintenance.’ When all you want to do is enjoy your ride without worrying about depreciation and $6-a-mile upkeep, you’re likely to turn to something much more familiar, comfortable, and dependable but that doesn’t skimp on the ol’ HP. Sweden’s Deceiver understands that about you. In an era of countless genres and sub-genres and endlessly accelerating technical flamboyance, they offer Thrashing Heavy Metal, a modern metal equivalent of the ’87 Buick Grand National: big, strong and fast, and without a lick of pretense.
Deceiver count among their influences just about every notable metal band from the eighties (Motörhead, Judas Priest, Venom, Mercyful Fate, Kreator, Sodom, Iron Maiden, Slayer, etc., etc.) and, honestly, each of these can be found somewhere among the album’s ten tracks. The interesting thing is how Deceiver have managed to parlay this mass of inspiration into a sound that teeters on the edge of original. Every second of Thrashing Heavy Metal sounds familiar but very little of it is so derivative as to brand itself a rip-off and there is little doubt that this is exactly what the band was going for.
Finding himself at the front-stage mic after auditions to replace former vocalist Destormo turned up empty, Pete Flesh occupies space on the gravelly spectrum somewhere between Lemmy and Witchery’s Tony Kampner. Though he displays virtually no range, his delivery is perfectly suited to the music, being both balls-out intense and brutally sincere. Pete also plays lead axe and his austere brand of solo is moderately convincing, though he doesn’t do nearly enough of it on this record. The rhythm work of bassist Crille Lundin and drummer Flingan is similarly workmanlike; rarely flashy but reliably hefty and aggressive.
It should be no surprise that Thrashing Heavy Metal sounds like an eighties metal album, albeit one benefiting from a major label. Peter Tägtgren’s retrofit production evokes remembrances of jamming the classic stuff on cassette from the boombox on the back seat of the old Mustang (or Camaro or Tercel, or whatever the old farts drove in high school). While this approach certainly helps to maximize the nostalgia factor (and it sounds great for what it is), as many listeners will likely find this hopelessly antiquated as warmly familiar.
In the end, anybody claiming to be disappointed by this record will find no sympathy from this reviewer, as there is nothing like a bait-and-switch here. Perhaps the best thing about the purported final offering from Deceiver is, ironically, that it is exactly what it claims to be. Thrashing Heavy Metal is 34 minutes of honest, bruising, old school thrash with classic metal sensibilities and, if that’s where you want to go, this album will get you there in a hurry.