For the music fan the web has certainly opened up a lot of opportunities. While MP3s themselves are hotly debated (issues of copyright and quality etc) the one thing that is indisputable is that the internet offers listeners a chance to check out bands that they may not otherwise have heard. Here we find Gama Bomb indulging in an act of generosity rivalled only by Nine Inch Nails, as they are giving away their new album as a free download with the promise of a physical release in the future.
‘Tales from the grave in space’ is a gloriously contemporary sounding record with its sci-fi infused heart and soul buried firmly back in the age when Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson ruled the airwaves with their helium screams. Opening with the aptly titled ‘slam anthem’ thrash guitars and pounding drums vie for airspace withPhilly Byrne’s mental screams and Domo Dixon’s beautifully clear solos. It’s heart pounding stuff that brings to mind all manner of classic acts but brought smack-up-to-date with a production job that renders each element with the utmost clarity.
After such a breathless opening the band follow it up perfectly with the ludicrous ‘new eliminators of Atlantis B.C’ which fizzes with fevered excitement and a spectacular vocal performance. ‘Three witches’ roars in with a vicious intro and brutal vocal although credit here has to go to the gloriously energetic guitar solo at 01:55 which sets the bridge on fire. ‘Last ninja’s unite’ takes what has gone before and ups the tempo another few notches thanks to a splendidly unhinged performance from drummer Paul Caffrey who appears to have at least seventeen arms. ‘Escape from scarecrow mountain’ opens with a widdly guitar solo before lurching off at the sort of speed that Slayer used to employ on ‘Reign in blood’.
At this stage most bands would want to draw breath but not Gama Bomb who seem to be getting faster with every song. As ‘Mussolini mosh’ fires past you like a speeding bullet you wonder where the hell they get the energy and then you’re slammed by the none-more-brutal ‘We respect you’ – a nitro glycerin fuelled thrash gem that will ignite any mosh pit the world over. ‘Apocalypse 1997’ maintains the tempo with Philly sounding more than ever like the love-child of Jello Biafra and Rob Halford. ‘Return to blood castle’ will have any thrash fan sitting up, wild eyed and chewing on their tongue in excitement, while ‘polterghost’ removes any resistance that might foolishly remain after so solid a thrashing. ‘Skeletron’ tears s*** up with a genuinely deranged vocal performance and ‘mummy invasion’ closes this insanely heavy album with not a dull moment or dodgy ballad in sight.
For a band who have declared war on bad metal there must have been those out there who hoped Gama Bomb would fail on this album. They will be disappointed for ‘Tales from the grave’ is an absolutely awesome album fuelled by the sheer love of metal and propelled by the prodigious talent of all those involved. If this was a paid-for release I’d be telling you to get out and buy it as soon as possible, the fact that this is available for free asks only one question: why the hell haven’t you got this already? Available from www.earache.com/gamabomb you need this and you need it now.