With “Blue Monday” just around the corner, what better way to blow away the doldrums and negative thoughts, than with a solid dose of Teutonic thrash metal from Bonded. With the jackhammer drumming of Markus “Makka“ Freiwald rattling around the skull, you won’t have time to stop and think about whatever ails you. Post Christmas credit card bills just landed on your doorstep? Still days away from payday? Shitty weather adding to everything? Slip on ‘Rest In Violence’, turn the dial skywards and it becomes a case of “what credit card bills?”.
Although technically a new band, the players should be recognisable to fans of the genre. Alongside Freiwald is fellow ex-Sodom member Bernd “Bernemann” Kost on guitar, along with Chris Tsitsis (ex-Suicidal Angels, Destroy Them) on guitars, Marc Hauschild on bass and Ingo Bajonczak of Assassin (ex-New Damage, ex-Supersoma, ex-Lord of Giant) on vocals. With Freiwald and Kost having some thirty odd years experience on the scene, Bonded were always going to stand out. Expectations of this, their debut album, were high, with fans of Sodom especially keen to hear what the Ruhr-Area legends came up with.
‘Rest In Violence’ contains most of the thrash trademarks that you would expect to hear on a modern thrash album in 2020. Drums which pummel the listener into submission (really, the drum work from Freiwald is incredible), razor-sharp riffage and pounding bass, vocals that impress more with each listen, all wrapped up with crystal clear production. But it’s the variation on ‘Rest In Violence’ which helps it stand out. Mixed in amongst the full-pelt speed of ‘Godgiven’ and ‘Suit Murderer’ (a killer opening one-two), are the likes of ‘Je Suis Charlie’ (one of the standout moments on the album) which grooves like a bastard. Bajonczak pays homage to Phil Anselmo on this rager, but without ever sounding like a tribute act. ‘The Rattle and the Snake’ begins as a lesson in aggression, then a slower, Southern groove kicks in for a fleeting moment (complete with harmonica) before returning to the aggression. ‘Where Silence Reverberates’ combines all of the above, but special mention has to go to the twin guitar work from Kost and Tsitsis on a track with multiple changes in style.
Is it time to mention the title-track? Of course it is. Clocking in at 03.50 minutes, it is a joy to behold. Featuring Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth of Overkill on guest vocals as well as former Kreator bass-player Christian “Speesy” Giesler, it sounds like all involved had an absolute blast. And if you needed a reminder of how much of a figurehead Ellsworth is to the genre, then here it is.
As far as debut albums go, this is a very strong way to mark your arrival upon the scene.
Available now through Century Media.
Review – Dave
Image on header – Sebastian Konopka