The Terror Tapes
The thrash metal revival has certainly had its day, with the scramble for places at the top well and truly decided. Acts like Municipal Waste, Evile and Warbringer have long made their gains as the top dogs to emerge from its renaissance, while other bands either continue to thrash away or fall back into the relative comfort of the underground, or worse, obscurity. Indeed, it seems to have done more to prolong the lives of the living legends it created, rather than carving out a new niche for its own. Nevertheless, it would be harsh to judge Gama Bomb on these grounds – I certainly regard the Irish band, for all their mischief and lack of originality, as one of the better bands to come out of it all – their conviction in thrash and their impressive live performances have brought them a considerable fanbase, and ‘The Terror Tapes’ is further testament to the band’s continued sustainability.
Whether the sheen can last much longer remains to be seen – I feel as though perhaps my faith is being tested by only being able to sustain Gama Bomb’s tempo – not with the general speed – just the general lack of shift. Like these Hell Truckers hit sixth gear and then found they were unable to get back into third. But four years can be a long time between albums, and while the pace of life these days doesn’t make it seem so, its hard to believe the gap between now and ‘Tales From The Grave In Space’ – but given vocalist Philly Byrne undertaking throat surgery, the departure of founder member and rhythm guitarist Luke Graham and the exit from Earache Records, let’s be thankful that Gama have surpassed ten years as a band and yet still retain their charming lunacy.
Back to the album at hand though, ‘The Terror Tapes’ features all the usual Gama Bomb hallmarks – sci-fi themes, frenetic guitar solos, and occasional high pitched screams. But even at thirty-six minutes, this still turns out to be Gama’s longest album to date, even if that’s only achieved by slightly longer than average songs than grand creative ambition. Yet Gama Bomb remain thoroughly entertaining –surgery hasn’t hindered Byrne – his tone sounds much crisper and improved, if anything, a profound voice above the constant buzz of the thrash shred. ‘Backwards Bible’ is a cracking tune in all departments and ‘Terrorscope’ is a thrilling ride with a more than familiar guitar solo to the classically trained ear, and while mentally it begins to drain just towards the end, this is by and large Gama Bomb back to their best. With bands like Gama Bomb still producing to this standard, thrash is more than just in a safe set of hands – its immediate future is secure too.
Gama Bomb – Terrorscope