We’ve already spoken in the past about Turin’s musical scene; it’s an esoteric but important one, for those of you who didn’t read that particular musing, with ties to punk and DIY scenes in general. Thus, finding that Ultra-Violence are from there shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to you. Their aggressive thrash is well in keeping with the image of Turin’s past and (maybe) it’s future. On Operation Misdirection, the band showcase their unique penchant for unbridled aggression which, with impressive agility, also allows room for interestingly intricate and progressive segments alongside some more heavy metal influenced arena choruses. Throughout, the trick is going to be keeping the listener on their toes enough to alleviate some of the repetitiveness that’s built into thrash metal.
Let me tell you what might be an open secret: the way to do that, to keep the listener engaged in thrash metal, is through a great groove section. Fast guitars, screeching solos, impassioned vocals and the such are important to be sure but they don’t themselves keep thrash varied enough to quite take it home without the groove section. Great drum-work if first essential to keep the all important rolling rhythm that is essential to thrash. It’s also a must if you want to keep things from just chugging along at that beat, since drums can do much to articulate ideas between pulses. To that, you have to add the bass. Thrash bands that are happy to just keep the bass in support, running below the guitars and providing that classic “meat” to a track can do fine but they can’t be great (there’s a reason Metallica‘s Cliff Burton is a legend).
Luckily, Ultra-Violence has both of these roles manned by brilliant musicians. Check out the second track’s beginning for an example of how the drums and bass maintain the aggression of the track; listen as, while the riffs play, the bass is doing all sorts of wizardry, including slaps and clever imitations of the guitar track. So to the drums, who provide not only the breaks which make the riff interesting but also great transitional sounds between the track’s middle, its bridge and the inevitable (and wholly pleasing) solo. Further down the line, on “My Fragmented Self”, the bass is made even more prominent, playing a classic role in the intro but with an added flavor that’s all personality. Closer to the middle of the track, it teams up with the drums to brilliantly foreshadow the guitar riff that’s coming and, once again, lay the ground for the rest of the track.
Don’t get me wrong; those guitar riffs and the vocals which play over the whole thing are awesome as well but it’s the bass and the drums which give the whole mix life. They wouldn’t be able to pull it off alone, naturally. The rest of the band need to be up to speed and up to speed they are. The next track, “The Acrobat”, is a fantastic example of not only that but also of the heavy metal tinges that Ultra-Violence bring to bear on their sound during Operation Misdirection. It’s a track that wouldn’t feel out of place on an Iron Maiden album, all guitar assault, all the time and backed by a strong vocal performance that really sells the high octane gang vocals, bigger than life chorus and multiple guitar/bridges solos. By the time you arrive at the extremely old school and aggressive “Nomophobia”, you’re just in the mood for something straightforward and loud.
So, when you add all of that together, you get an album that’s just pure fun. It’s thrash as thrash should be; varied, breakneck, aggressive and unapologetic. By shifting things around with great groove section utilization and some thrash-adjacent influences, Ultra-Violence have created an album that’s all about fans of the genre. If you’re not into metal done well, fast and hard, then this isn’t the album for you. But if you’re looking for crazy solos, fast riffs, one insane bass solo and lots and lots and lots of breakneck drums, this is the release for you. Oh, did I mention there’s a fucking amazing cover of “Money For Nothing” by The Dire Straits? Because there totally is and they left in the opening synths. Play it motherfucking loud!
Operation Misdirection was released on 27th of July through Spinefarm Records/Candlelight Records. You can grab it right here.