Gama Bomb - BATS (Prosthetic Records)
At a time when there is enough brutality in the world at large to make the most slamming of albums seem like easy listening, there is certainly a sizable demand for something a bit less intense. Surely there must be something that, like a favorite leather jacket or slice of pizza, is just the right blend of edgy, maybe even crusty, but comforting.
Perhaps owing to the fact that it was written during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic years, North Ireland thrashers Gama Bomb capture this exact feeling with their eighth and, arguably most experimental release, BATS. Coming in at around 34 minutes in play time, this half an hour of power fuses influences from Iron Maiden, Overkill, and Motörhead, to name a few, into eleven tracks of fantastic fury.
Serving up a sonic, booze-n-brawl trip around the world that would excite even Hunter S. Thompson, the album kicks off with "Egyptron", an anthemic number that calls to mind seas of sand under a blazing sun. A quick hop and skip to a more modern kingdom of sorts, "Living Dead In Beverly Hills" touches on the decadence of where today's royalty dwell, albeit to a circle pit inducing beat.
Drawing on some of the classic elements of thrash metal, "Dreamstealer" and "Speed Funeral" both give vocalist Philly Byrne free reign to hit impossibly high notes over gang background vocals. Meanwhile, "Secular Saw" is one of several choice cuts that feature lead guitarist Domo Dixon's frenzied solos over a well structured rhythm section.
Rounding out with the humorous, yet, hypnotic "Bats In Your Hair", the full scale of Gama Bomb's experimentation comes in the form of a saxophone solo. Joining bands such as Sigh and Rivers of Nihil in adding some brass instrumentation the mix, the album concludes on the perfect song to thrown down to in the pit while still having a blast.
The Metal Mayan review:
Sometimes the cover art of an album tells you everything you need to know. In the case of BATS, it's instantly clear that, with this album, you're going to have a blast listening to it.
Between "Egyptron", "Speed Funeral" and "Secular Saw", I had to fight the urge to push the gas pedal down just a little harder. And perhaps that's what many folks need these days: a little bit of a good time in between difficult headlines from around the world.
I also must hammer home how well executed the sax solo over thrashing riffs was - definitely a great meeting of worlds without being too avant-garde or proggy for most fans.
Having wrapped up a U.K. tour last month, fans on this side of the pond are surely anxious to see some of these new tracks come to life at North America venues. Until then, visit your local record store and pick up a copy of BATS, out 10 November on Prosthetic Records.
Advance copy courtesy of Prosthetic Records