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Subpoena - "Thrashimus Maximus" (CD/EP)

Subpoena - "Thrashimus Maximus" CD/EP cover image

"Thrashimus Maximus" track listing:

1. Time Stands Still
2. Jigsaw
4. Camel Spider
5. Antartica
6. The Truthful
7. Elmo El Destructor
8. Thrashimus Maximus

Reviewed by on August 24, 2006

"Subpoena has effectively stage dived its way onto the 'elbow room only' underground metal scene with this gritty and powerfully orchestrated shotgun blast of a debut EP"

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's tightly wound and fatally dynamic thrash act Subpoena has effectively stage dived its way onto the 'elbow room only' underground metal scene with this gritty and powerfully orchestrated shotgun blast of a debut EP entitled "Thrashimus Maximus" off the Tone Arm record label. The band features Vinnie Kenny on vocals, Donovan Bolger on guitar, Keith Wadsworth on Guitar, along with Nolan Gallagher on bass and Anthony Peracchia on Drums.

The opening track 'Time Stands Still' kicks off heavy but quirky with purely zany, System Of A Down-inspired background vocals that still somehow uniquely sets the table for the rest of the disc's unexpected, and at times downright staggering, concrete wall-to the head sonic brutality. The second track 'Jigsaw' sounds like Sabbath took a walk through the modern-ish way of the new metal scene, blending blazing guitar work and gutsy vocals with a rhythm section that seems nailed down to the cross in its flatout march to heavy music righteousness. The third track "AUSIDIC" opens with the lyrics, "The cycle tore up my belief, The fear of truth and what if real, The hatred of suspicion, The ending of my certainty," piledriving the listener with a much more melodic opening than the first two songs, swirling into a very heavy-handed tempo change and crushing drumming pattern that completely substantiates the song's opening words with its almost frenzied manner. The guitar solo featured at the end is better than most I hear coming from the over-hyped and supposed world class fret burner's from Trivium and Avenged Sevenfold, leaving by end a very substantial mark.

Track number five is 'Antartica' and is easily the most interesting to this point with a seemlessly worked in black metal vibe to it, accompanied by barking background vocals that lend to its overall brooding and sinister feel. The visual sounding opening verse cries out, "Bleed, let the blood run through So I can breathe your life, Hole on to your soul, But leave whats truly cold," creating a tremendous sense of impending doom with no way out, next careening off into an Iron Maiden-like guitar harmony section and dying out in ominous and chilling feedback. Track number six 'The Truthful' sounds like a garage band version of Slayer in the start, punked up and embittered with gobs of life scorn and pissed off and full of hate in its gutteral meaning, taking off like a runaway train into a blackened void that has no apparent conclusion, ending with the throat cries of Kenny matched in seemingly all out terror by the lead solo that brings it to a stop.

Track number seven 'Elmo El Destructor" is the sloppiest offering in its production but does not fall far from the mark in its attempt to continue the momentum of the disc's practically pitch-perfect fury, taking into consideration this album wasn't delivered by a big name producer. The guitar work here is at its most polished and cuts you with its calculated beauty.

The Final song is the title track 'Thrashimus Maximus' and is hands down the true 'Let's start a riot' gem you were hoping for. Compelling in its 'wind-you-up in the pit' breakdown right out the gate, it reaches a near out of controlness, and then finds a harmonious break that sets up the spit blood from your guts, rip up the bible and throw it out the window finale. The most effective moment of the entire album comes in the form of a wicked guitar outro, ala Satriani or Al DiMeola, unfortunately cracking out at the end due to what appears to be just plain shotty studio engineering. All in all, this is a very effecitve debut, despite some of its production shortcomings and I have no problem saying that Subpoena is a young metal band to keep your eyes on for sure. They are one of the most promising - at this stage in their game - that this reviewer has ever heard.

Highs: The EP's title track 'Thrashimus Maximus' clearly leaves a purple and black mark as was intended.

Lows: The vocal level in the mix could have been brought down a notch.

Bottom line: A modern thrash band that's refreshingly well worth the listen.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)