December 11, 2008 | | 3.5

Guillotine, Blood Money

Previously to being put on indefinite hiatus in 1998, Guillotine storm back to the thrash folds with this quick paced, catchy-as-all-fucking-Hell album. Blood Money isn’t necessarily retro or old school as it certainly has influences from old and new bands, but the overall sound is a bit more contemporary.

Tackling weighty topics such as current world politics, multi-national corporate whores and more, Guillotine use precision in their guitar attack as well as unrelenting drums to their advantage. Melodic hooks really take hold of the listener throughout the album as the group tears from flesh searing blasts to catchy choruses with a smooth, slick production. While it’s not pushing the envelope of thrash in general, Blood Money is still just too much damned fun to not listen to repeatedly.

Insane Oppression
“Insane Oppression” gets the blood pumping with a huge scream and then the onslaught begins. Quick drums and driving riffs get this one moving along briskly, with a slick retro feel. The vocals are gruff, but easily understandable as they force their way through you ruptured eardrums. There’s some decent groove to this one that will lead to many sprained necks when all is said and done. Can’t miss the smooth lead at the two minute mark either.

After that infectious opening, Guillotine keep the pace at near sonic speeds with “Rebellion.” I love the opening guitar work as the vocals come in. This one has one hell of a catchy chorus as the group bring in some slick melodic elements to drive the point home. Another slick lead hits before the two minute mark that’s quickly followed by the chorus. The drumming so far on the album is unrelenting and smooth.

A brief series of sound clips accompany memorable riffing and maniacal drums for the first 30 seconds or so as Guillotine settle into a chugging groove. This one has a nice slight retro feel as a quick lead comes in just before the one minute mark. The vocals also have a bit more aggressive edge to them.

“Liat” starts off with some evil riffing and massive drum hits for a few seconds before the driving rhythms and speedier vocals come in. I’m impressed that the guys are keeping each track fresh while still maintaining an overall similar feel. Helps the album push it’s way into your brain while pummeling your ribcage with kidney shots. There’s some sweet underlying melodies throughout this song.

This next one builds up from a mid-tempo start to manic drumming and quick fingered riffing. Man, the drums on this disc never seem to let down in their constant bludgeoning. There are some slick hooks in this one that will keep you on your toes, especially with with slight breakdown at the two minute mark.

Skeleton City
“Skeleton City” is another track with one hell of a catchy chorus, even though it opens with a massive scream and dark riffing. The balance between the melodic elements and bruising influences is stellar on this one.

“Madness” is a sub minute long instrumental that serves to break up the pace a bit and showcase the band’s softer side.

Dying World
After the brief respite, Guillotine get right back down to the pummeling with this mid-tempo monster of a track. Driving riffs push the vocals along nicely as the drums slow for a bit but still hit heavy. The chorus is, once again, catchy as all get out. I’m digging the incorporation of the more melancholy sound to some of the guitar work.

Welcome to Dying (Death, Deconstruction & Pain)
The slower, more mid-tempo pace continues with “Welcome to Dying.” The more melancholy sound to the guitars also continues with great effect, adding the feeling of the dramatic to the song. There’s also an old school Testament feel to portions of the song that’s a great compliment to the more sullen feel.

This is probably my favorite track on the album. It starts slowly but builds quickly to a old school Slayer-like frenzy with driving riffs and raw vocals. I love that every time “war” comes into the vocals its an extended scream to emphasize it.

Our Darkest Day
The opening of this one is dark and foreboding as it builds with evil riffing and big drums. The pace increases to a pummeling pace for a few seconds before settling into a groove filled, slower pace as the vocals come in. There are a bunch of tempo shifts throughout this one, as yet another infectious chorus adds to the head banging fun.

Blood Money
The title track wraps up a stellar come-back album with some of the more frantic guitars and driving rhythms. There’s nothig subtle about this one — it’s a full on frontal attack with everything the band has at their disposal. It’s a strong finish to a great disc.

~ ~ ~

Man, not only does Blood Money rarely let up with the pummeling onslaught, but it adds some seriously infectious grooves and melodies into it’s thrash mix. I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a catchier thrash album released this year — the blend of old and new influences are balanced perfectly. Even if you’re a casual thrash fan, this is one you’ve got to have in your collection.

Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: