While the attempt to blend together hard rock with more of a modern thrash metal style is a noble venture, much of Thrash ‘n’ Roll can be boiled down to either Pantera or Anthrax influence. Neither of these are substantially bad or detrimental to the final product, but the same level of enthusiasm both exhibit isn’t quite on display. Yes, there’s some energy present in the somewhat hazy sounding audio quality of the release, but it’s minimal at best. The guitars sound fairly vibrant, the bass does present a pretty strong backbone to the mix, but the drums are a bit of a mixed bag. The overall presence is good, but certain cymbals are distractingly louder than the rest of the mix at times, and the bass kicks have an odd variation of metallic sounding or slightly deeper toned clicks on certain songs, such as “As Long As There’s a God” and “Personal Hell” respectively.
“Stigma of Degeneration” introduces the effort with more of a Pantera feel, but back when they weren’t just considered a groove metal entity. It’s a solid presence that has enough of a unique sound thanks to the random spurts of furious and even melodic thrash material spliced in. But, of course, things grind to a halt approaching three-and-a-half minutes in as the band suddenly starts dredging the swamps with slower riffs torn straight off of “Drag the Waters” to the point where the lyrics to its chorus could easily be layered over this obviously forced section of hero-worship that in no way needs to exist. “Dominate”, however, seems more like something torn from that band’s Fucking Hostile era, resorting to pulse pounding drums fuelled by the steady bass kicks, though with odd trace’s of Janes Addiction at times that leave you waiting for their signature nasally vocal approach to come out of nowhere in certain sections.
“As Long As There’s a God” starts off as another promising mixture of the two aforementioned bands, but, while there is a good groove presence of the former, it’s more of a highly melodic Anthrax presentation once the introduction passes. The shouting has a little more range to it, even when the bass-heavy two-step segment starts briefly at two-and-a-half minutes in, quickly shifting to a slow-paced war-themed mourning build up and guitar solo to wrap things on. “Escape the Prison” is more of a heavy metal style offering with a hint of southern flair, and it surprisingly works very well for the group. Tight guitars with catchy as hell hooks in the chorus with layered clean singing offering up a lighter presence that compliments the mildly hostile main verses do make it a far more memorable outing, though that statement is one that does nicely sum up the second half of the release, really.
Then you have the actual Thrash ‘n’ Roll sound to contend with, which often isn’t even what you really get. “Reinvention” honestly sounds more like an Alice in Chains cut, or even a modern Ted Nugent track with a heavier Pearl Jam touch. This, surprisingly, is where the band really excels, bringing more of a stand out quality to the music than just resorting to material similar to “Cemetery Gates” from Pantera, something listeners might expect given the first few tracks. Even “King of the Lonesome Riders” – an infectious, radio ready cut – throws back to the days of sixties to early seventies southern rock, reminiscent of the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd or Deep Purple.
Sadly, there’s also “Break the Silence”, which just sounds like an amalgamation of various hit rock and metal songs through the years, mostly from the eighties to nineties, put together into one immediately unrecognizable mass grave. Every single riff, hook, even drum pattern sounds incredibly familiar, but, for the most part, hard to put a finger on exactly which track it reminds you. The band names, however, will immediately start flooding your memory banks, ranging from any of the aforementioned groups to even modern acts like The Sword in the guitar solo that also some shades of Deep Purple to it later on.
While Thrash ‘n’ Roll isn’t necessarily a bad album in any way, it just doesn’t really boast much to the listener beyond that of a bar band trying to be original while keeping with the bar band motif. Oddly enough, it’s the more rock oriented cuts that really stand out the best compared to some of the more aggressive or groove metal heavy tracks that feel forced for the sake of the album title’s gimmick, which comes off one even the band isn’t too keen on all the time, as if it exists to humor one member in the act, or a very small/niche group of people in their fan base. Truthfully, this is a band destined for the mainstream rock radio airwaves, and that isn’t something said with disgust or hatred this time around. Songs like “King of the Lonesome Riders” and even the heavier, groovier “Endless Source of Power” and it’s far more energetic presence would easily stand out in the stable world of bands that all sound the same, offering the starved masses yearning for anything even a little different something to latch on to. And, really, I wish the band would continue to focus more on these sort of tracks than try to make songs like “Stigma of Degeneration” or “Break the Silence” work in their favor. Hopefully Deathless Creation continues to nurture what ultimately makes up the last half of Thrash ‘n’ Roll, and move away from what starts this debut outing off.