Review: “Reborn” by Netherblade

Rising like a Phoenix from the ashes of Milan Metallers Blindeath during 2016, Netherblade are an Italian Thrash quintet who mean business, launching themselves with their debut single “Thieves Den” via ETN Records at the end of that year. Their debut EP “Annihilation of Self” appeared in 2018, the band channeling their instincts and sharping their swords in preparation for their debut album citing influences in Exodus, Death Angel and early Machine Head. 2019 saw a line up change before the band entered the studio and there has been another since the album was completed, bassist Luca Frisenna exiting shortly thereafter. The stage is now set for touring “Reborn” with the band retooled; Fabio Vanotti joining the fold as a new bassist with the group completed by Danilo Sunna on drums, Simone Aiello and Davide Zacco on guitars and last but not least vocalist Andrea Ledda…

…The last thing you might expect from a Thrash record is programming but that is what comprises the beating heart of “Overture“, an introduction that also features the organ depicted on the cover art of “Tempo Of The Damned” by Exodus in a tip of the hat to the bands peers. First track proper is “Eyes of the World” which sees the band deliver a bass heavy mix, classic Thrash riffs played with true 80’s nostalgic style, avoiding any temptation of beef up the riffs and sometimes less is more. The galloping percussive battery is impressive, there is a fine attention to detail and if it wasn’t for Ledda’s vocals, you might think you were listening to Anthrax. Title track “Reborn” continues the rhythmic aggression with some Trivium esq momentary lead highlights in the riff turn around, a climbing solo adds a touch of class, while the pace and energy is kept high throughout. The use of gang chants for the song title is perfectly timed and placed, as a single word it means that the moshers can chant along, beers raised, during the shows.

…There is one speed for Neatherblade and the warp drive remains firmly engaged during “From the Abyss” which sees Ledda running from his demons. A well executed bass drive rumble is class; Ledda’s raspy vocals suiting the style well. There are moments where he shows off some more range, with a couple of growls thrown in for good measure, but he doesn’t need to. Lyrically, all those classic Thrash themes are firmly intact, “’till the End” being a fine example of that. It’s rapid fire depiction of genocide seeing Ledda’s voice touch on that of James Hetfield for a fleeting moment, the solo being the first real face melter of the album, primarily down to having that longer duration. Switching up to a riff with a bit more swagger in it “Braindamage” cuts between more of a Classic Metal sound and a Thrash one, a funky bass line showing off something new but is perhaps a verse and chorus over long…

…A haunting orchestral introduction to “Killing Spree” takes us from the bar to the Nordic forests as it climbs with Black Metal styled folk leanings with some almost tribal kit work during the opening third before blending Thrash with the work you might expect from a band like Sabbaton. It’s an unexpected left turn from a band not afraid to experiment and bring in elements from other genres while not abandoning their own sound completely. Longer instrumental sections give Netherblade more opportunity to show off their prowess and they do so without hesitation on this nearly 7 minute cut but the style of the faster moving “Wasted Generation” suits them better. A rager of a cut that attacks from all angles at breakneck speed, it sees the welcome return of those fist pumping gang chants. The bands anthem “Netherblade” sounds like the kind of song that would accompany a Wrestler to the ring if it was a bit slower but the band don’t pause for thought in unleashing the riffs, the shackles are off after the mid album slow down and this one is a killer. Far from the Ill Nino cover that the title suggests “Nothing is Real” ramps up the percussive battery into Death Metal territory during its opening roar, which returns later on to stunning effect. It’s the beefing up that the two middle tracks on the album, it’s soft underbelly, could really use to deliver that gut punch [6.5/10]

Track listing

1. Overture
2. Eyes of the World
3. Reborn
4. From the Abyss
5. ’till the End
6. Braindamage
7. Killing Spree
8. Wasted Generation
9. Netherblade
10. Nothing is Real

Reborn” by Netherblade is out 16th October via Dark Hammer Legion/Volcano Records.

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