Review: “False Idols” by Electrocutioner

Hailing from Long Island, New York and making a name for themselves since 2020 with shows along the East Coast alongside the likes of Lich King, Extinction A.D. and Doomcreeper are Thrash trio Electrocutioner. Citing inspiration in 80’s dystopian films they go back to the roots of the genre with the combination of speed, aggression, ripping solos and frenetic energy as they ruminate on themes of societal collapse and nuclear war. Taking a truly DIY or DIE approach following a pair of EPs in 2021’s “48 Hours ‘Til Termination” and 2022’s “Escape From the Catacombs” the outfit went underground for their debut album “False Idols“. Literally. Bassist Rich Nieves recording, producing, mixing and mastering the entire album in the basement of guitarist, vocalist and synth interlude creator Mark Pursino with the pair joined by new drummer Tyler Bogliole…

The influence of those 80’s dystopian films bleeds through the bandages in the synths of opening cut “Earth Ender” which feels like it was lifted from the soundtrack to John Carpenter’s “Escape From New York“, cleansing the palate before “Revenger” finds the Thrash engines roaring. Pursino plays the part of the protagonist, a shotgun wielding Mad Max type hell bent on revenge while all the time surrounded by a whirlwind of pummelling percussion and riffs galore. An instant winner with flavours of bands like Municipal Waste or Hazzerd with a comic book storyline that is masterfully done, it’s swiftly followed by the album title track which has a little more bite vocally as the band reach out but don’t quite touch the void into Death Thrash. Having a ripper of a solo with a classic whammy bar drop ending helps propel this one nicely and while the recording is a little bit raw around the edges, it’s barely noticeable. We’re not talking demo tape here, this sounds like a studio record with everything well mixed and balanced, perhaps lacking a couple of expensive microphones and some acoustic treatment in the room itself but that is it. The flamboyance and freedom with which the classic Thrash leads of “The Guillotine” are played raises the hairs on the back of the neck, Pursino never afraid to go hell for leader and push the rhythm section into overdrive. Maybe you shouldn’t be joining in with the gang chants of “Off. Off with his head!” when you’ve got your headphones on in the office but resistance is futile, especially when the riffs are parasitic earworms like these.

An Old School call to headbang, “Collector’s Debt” plays out at the tempo of the damned as Pursino plays the role of the Grimm Reaper who has come to collect his the debt you owe with a menacing growl and some more fretboard smouldering leads. If the introduction piece wasn’t enough for you “Ancient Waters” provided another moment of haunting cinematic 80’s synth before “Throne Possessor” smashes the clock in fear. Another blistering riff infestation, it rampages through the parade like a bull in a china shop, smashing every single item in the place. It’s one of those that cuts short when it could have easily gone on for another verse and chorus, feeling about 30 seconds short perhaps due to the extended instrumental opening. One of the great things about this album is that not only does it have a decent bass sound but it’s also prominent in the mix. That means that in moments on cuts like the fierce “Seven Lamps of Fire“, which could easily be rebranded “Seven Lamps of F***ing Fire“, the bass has a rhythm guitar like quality. A single as obvious as a hammer smashed thumb, it’s little wonder it got the full music video treatment. Proving that they can do evil atmosphere incredibly well and don’t necessarily need synths to do it, “Lost in the Eye of the Void” offers up another eerie moment to question your sanity to.

After that introduction piece, you know what’s coming next as “Asleep at the Wheel” tells a classic psychological horror tale of a hit and run followed by the mind slowly unravelling with the nature of the crime. Haunted in dreams by the victim to drive to death, the Thrash masterclass knows know end with a couple of flying solos and a groove laden bass line formulated to create the perfect soundtrack to a late night drive on a cold winters night. Spoken words float around the skull as if you’re trapped in an LSD induced mind trip on “Children of the New Dawn” the raging riffs and pounding percussion fuelling the other Worldly experience. Is that the voice of God or a Demon calling from beyond the grave? Is that a straight jacket? Pursino spits and snarls his way through the lyrics like a man possessed with no melodic compromise, harnessing his inner “Sweating Bullets” era Dave Mustaine but with more bark and more bite to ensure his presence is felt. Does the album need a fourth interlude sequence? Probably not but “Plague Winds” is a melancholic moment that allows grand finale “Execution of the Witches” to hit like a battering ram as Electrocutioner throw their bullets in the fire and run like hell. An all out Thrash attack of the finest order with a face melting solo to make Gary Holt jealous, this is the kind of riot that everyone needs from an album with a verve, sagger and confidence that is… electrifying! [8/10]

Track Listing

1. Earth Ender
2. Revenger
3. False Idols
4. The Guillotine
5. Collector’s Debt
6. Ancient Waters
7. Throne Possessor
8. Seven Lamps of Fire
9. Lost in the Eye of the Void
10. Asleep at the Wheel
11. Children of the New Dawn
12. Plague Winds
13. Execution of the Witches

False Idols” by Electrocutioner is out 13th October 2023 with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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