Aside from Supergrass and Winnebago Deal, I can’t think of too many decent bands to have come from Oxford or the surrounding area. And when it comes to heavy metal, and indeed thrash metal, Oxford isn’t exactly a hotbed of talent, a name synonymus with the likes of Gothenburg or the Bay Area. But one band attempting to change that notion is Mutagenocide, a five piece from Witney who here have delivered a sonic slab of not wholly original but definitely kick-a riffery that serves up as one of the most enjoyable slices of traditional heavy/thrash metal I’ve heard for a while.
Their self-titled EP is four tracks long and is an intriguing work of progressive thrash, drawing on influence from (I would guess) the stomping grooves of Testament and ‘Cowboys’-era Pantera and the progressive thrash forged by Nevermore. This seems evident in the least through their singer Fred Savory, who for the most part possesses the traits of Chuck Billy and Warrel Dane, through an often gruff but soulful delivery that occasionally hits the high notes like all great metal vocalists can. None more evident than on ‘Stampede’, which thunders along like a freight train before finishing with a cracking combined lead/vocal combo. The prog/groove thrash combination continues to work well throughout, with the machine gun drive of ‘Warhead’, combining some excellent technical skill with melodic leads, the anthemic ‘Fists of Steel’, which pounds like a mighty sledgehammer, and ‘Hammer to the Head’, which ends things on a slightly more extreme note, showcasing the band’s versatility in full.
I listened to this record several times in a row between commutes, and though initially it took me a little time to warm to it, in the end I couldn’t be without it. It’s a fantastic work of progressive heavy/thrash metal and marks Mutagenocide as one to watch for certain.
The EP was limited to 100 CD copies which have now sold out, but it can be streamed and purchased directly through their Bandcamp page.
Stream it below: