India might not be the first country that springs to mind when you think of thrash metal, and you’d be forgiven for thinking at first glance that these guys were from the San Fransisco Bay Area, rather than Mumbai. However, what you see you might not get, and we can bet, so don’t you get souped yet, scheming on a thing that’s a mirage; I’m trying to tell you now, it’s Sabotage.
They may only have one incredibly rough EP under their belt, but Bassein‘s Sabotage are easily one of the most exciting new thrash metal bands to emerge in 2019. Plenty of bands, form all over the world, have tried their hand at the classic Bay Area thrash sound over the years, and plenty have fallen by the wayside in doing so. Sabotage’s freshly released debut EP, The Order of Genocide, however, displays a sharp sense of songwriting that separates them from the crowd, even if their sonic presentation could use some serious refinement. The guitars on The Order of Genocide sound as though they were recorded on my old 10-Watt practice amp, and everything could definitely use the gain turned down on it by a notch or two. Nevertheless, the riffs are on point and there’s an excitement and exuberance that comes through on the recording, even if its overall sonic quality is lacking.
The EP delivers four tracks of compelling and masterfully constructed thrash metal. The title-track kicks things off in classic thrash fashion, with an acoustic opening that gives way to a frantic, pit-starting riff, and the band refuse to let the energy dip from there. “Failed is the Law” is more subdued to begin with but eventually builds to a pummeling bridge section that sounds like a chunkier take on the end of Metallica‘s “One,” which culminates in an “Angel of Death”-style double-kick break that transitions into a bulky breakdown whose scratchy tones make it sounds like Megadeth playing hardcore. There’s a heavy Kill ’em All influence all over the record, but it’s never more prominent than on “Bloodthirst,” which opens with a riff reminiscent of “Seek and Destroy” before building to a sing-along chorus and rolicking climax that appears custom-built for closing out live shows. “Public Enemy” perhaps tests the limits of originality, by opening with an air-raid siren/news report combo. However, it is somewhat fresh to hear that tried and true genre staple applied in an Indian political context, and the track that follows is as convincing as anything else on the EP.
The band’s bandcamp page contains two earlier tracks, which are even less refined than those of the The Order of Genocide; although they’d probably come up alright with a bit of polish and their continued preoccupation with the injustice’s of war lends some serious credence to Pete’s point about the lyrical significance of Metallica’s “Disposable Heroes”. Sabotage are a band steeped in the thrash tradition and it would be interesting to see them bring a bit more of their own perspective to future releases. Nevertheless, the prospect of a future full-length built around enhanced versions of these early offerings remains an enticing one and, if they’re able to keep up this level of songwriting, we could see Sabotage competing on the world stage yet.