March 20, 2012 | | 3

Degredation, Juggernaut

Degredation: Juggernaut

Sweet mother of shitty assed album covers. I know that these dudes from Chicago are more focused on their bay area influenced thrash than being graphic artists, but damn man that’s rough — almost as rough as getting through the first two tracks on their debut album, Juggernaut.

The thrash that Degredation deliver is heavily rooted in early Exodus and Metallica, as well as a healthy dose of Testament. That said, their first full-length effort doesn’t have a retro or new wave feel. The music these guys are belting out has a blue collar work vibe. The first two tracks (“A Necessary Evil” and title track) are a little forgettable as they work through a standard bit of thrash metal. It’s not until “The Reckoning” where these guys finally grab you by the balls and get your attention. With a solid grasp on Testament’s back catalog the guys rip through pile-driving drums and catchy riffs in no time.

“Rise to Fall” is infectious with it’s riffage and catchy chorus that will have you grabbing your denim and patched jacket from the back of the closet. “Trail of Sin” has a slow initial build-up, but once they get going, hang on tight as they drive through solid riffing and pile-driving drum work. Vocalist Alex Manske didn’t inspire much in the first two tracks, but by this point in the album he’s won me over. The anthemic “Degredation” is a huge song in terms of its power and attitude. It’s got the strongest guitar work on the album and some of the more impressive drums, as well.

It took me a good six or seven times through this album before I fully got into it. Those first two songs aren’t absolutely horrible, but there are other tracks on this disc that would certainly serve as better, more impactful album openers. Overall, Degredation’s Juggernaut is a solid helping of retro-not-retro thrash that’s infectious and just fun to listen to.