Thrash was my gateway into the world of metal music. There’s something special about the kind of thrash metal that was prominent around 1990, when Megadeth’s Rust in Peace dropped. That album was especially appealing because of the performances by Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman, who laid down some of the best rhythm and lead guitar tracks ever committed to tape. Long song intros, dynamic builds, meandering guitar solos for no good reason, and galloping riffs were all part of the deal. It was wonderful.
What if you could have all of that, but in death metal form? Shards of Humanity’s new album, Cold Logic, helps answer that question.
Cold Logic opens up with “Cosmic Shield,” a three minute long instrumental featuring the type of back-and-forth guitar solos you’d hear on the back half of “Hanger 18.” That’s a bold statement, and prepares the listener to have patience as the tracks work their course toward the album’s completion.
“Martyr’s Gaze” gives the listener its first taste of Todd Cochran’s vocals, which are muscular and powerful without dropping into Cookie Monster territory. You can actually understand most of the words on this album without reference to a lyric sheet. A mid-paced guitar riff opens the proceedings, quickly accompanied by blastbeating drums and a ripping intro solo. It’s at around two and a half minutes in that the Rust in Peace influences really kick in and deliver several rounds of frenetic guitar exchanges.
The thrashiest moments on the album lie in “Moths of Zeta.” The song launches right into one of the most memorable hooks on the entire album, one that will stick in your head long after the album ends. Traditional galloping riffs are layered with some pretty beefy vocals that I can best describe as a hybrid of Tommy Victor of Prong and Chase Mason of Gatecreeper. I really like the reverb on these vocals, which gives them more of a live feel.
The back half of this album ventures into Death territory. “Docile Masses” apes Human and Symbolic without being too obvious. The most interesting song on the album is “Demonic Crystallized Intelligence,” which includes a full on jazz section with a lively fretless bass and a ripping guitar solo drowning in reverb. I was not at all prepared for this, and had to repeat this track several times to take it all in.
The album clocks in at just under 35 minutes, showing that this band has a pretty solid understanding of pacing and editing. The production is commendable here, as everything sounds great and the album has a well balanced mix. There are a couple of hardcore influenced instrumentals sprinkled in here that, while kind of fun, will probably feel skippable after repeated listens.
Cold Logic would be great to use as proselytizing material to convert thrash fans to death metal. Thrash fans will love the riffing and soloing on this record. The vocals are harsh enough to satisfy even seasoned death metal fans, but remain accessible to the uninitiated. While this album may stop short of being an essential death metal record, it delivers a solid experience for all fans of the genre.
Favorite Songs: “Moths of Zeta,” “Cold Logic,” and “Demonic Crystallized Intelligence”
Release Date: 4/13/2020
Label: Unspeakable Axe Records
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