It’s been years since I’ve listened to a new release of Thanatos. Their new album is a great occasion both for this and for a visit to their past, after I found out that there are releases of them that had escaped from my…radar.
The Dutchmen are one of the many bands that used that name and if I’m not mistaken it was the first, since they started in 1984. They were originally called Whiplash, but that did not last long. One of the many bands who used the same or similar name was Thanatos Inc. from Greece that was changed into Nigel Foxxe’s Inc. in 1988, one year after their foundation.
The band originally disbanded in 1992, returned in 1999 with guitarist/singer Stephan Gebédi (ex-Hail Of Bullets) as their only original member and have been releasing new works since then. “Violent Death Rituals” is the seventh full-length in their history and the successor of “Global Purification” (2014).
Of course, their style does not change here either. We are talking about death/thrash metal, with the death element being more intense than other bands with similar direction. The songs are about four minutes each and they stay to-the-point with no unnecessary fills. The album is up-tempo almost in its entirety and will make you bang your head easily. It also has a few but excellent mid-tempo breaks.
Martin Ooms’s substantial drumming stands out, Stephan’s vocals probably sound better than ever, the guitars offer some great riffs and frenzy solos and the production is definitely the best they’ve had so far. I was also impressed by some very characteristic influences from early Slayer in specific guitar parts, which matched perfectly with the rest of the material.
The album sounds fresh on the one hand and faithful to the band’s history on the other. Without innovations but also without pretentious old-school bullshit, they achieved the sound that I believe a band with their own history should have today. For those of you who do not know them, “Violent Death” Rituals is a great opportunity to start.