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Arsenite - "High-Speed Thrashing Maniacs" (CD/EP)

Arsenite - "High-Speed Thrashing Maniacs" CD/EP cover image

"High-Speed Thrashing Maniacs" track listing:

1. Sheep In Wolfskin Clothing
2. Ashes Of The Declined
3. Stopping At Nothing
4. Blood On Your Hands

Reviewed by on January 7, 2013

"With a title of 'High-Speed Thrashing Maniacs' and cover art of a guy getting pummeled by a scary-looking guy with vampire teeth, Arsenite promises a beautifully brutal experience."

Sometimes there IS such a thing as truth in advertising. With a title of "High-Speed Thrashing Maniacs" and cover art of a guy getting pummeled by a scary-looking guy with vampire teeth, Arsenite promises a beautifully brutal experience. And, you know what? The 16 minutes of sheer old-school thrash-itude that come after you hit play are just that.

Granted, if you want to hear prettier versions of these tracks, you can find them on the band's debut full-length album, "Ashes Of The Declined," which came out in November of last year. For me, though, there's something wonderful in a "Killing Is My Business" kind of way about the lower-fidelity sound here.

Things get off to a superb start with "Sheep In Wolfskin Clothing," which features Richard Fredriksson's best drumming and an excellent dual-guitar assault by Simon Hagberg and Tony Classon, who also handles the vocals.

"Ashes Of The Declined" has Classon's best vocals, and a solo that feels like vintage Mustaine. Somewhat less impressive is "Stopping At Nothing," which relies on lyrical cliches a little too much (he's "stopping at nothing" and "standing my ground," and will "fight til the end").

The band wisely shifts gears a little on "Blood On Your Hands," which slows down — albeit for about 10 seconds or so — enough to let listeners catch their breath before things motor to their speedy end.

There isn't much to complain about here, though having the first three out of four tracks race along at roughly the same tempo makes for a listening experience that doesn't feel all that varied. Still, having Classon switch it up vocally does help. As noted earlier, the production is a bit on the lo-fi side, but that's part of the charm.

Whether you're listening to this EP as a primer for the band's recent full-length disc or just because you're looking for some kick-ass thrash, the "High-Speed Thrashing Maniacs" of Arsenite are up to the task. It's 16 minutes of speaker-shredding fun.

Highs: "Sheep In Wolfskin Clothing" and "Blood On Your Hands."

Lows: A little lacking in the variety department, but that's not a terrible thing.

Bottom line: An excellent old-school thrash EP.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)