By Jason Wellwood
I thoroughly enjoyed Joe Thrasher‘s previous album, so when the opportunity to arose to review the new album, I was definitely interested. Admittedly, the ‘sophomore’ album curse always causes a little trepidation but in this case it was worry for nothing. On Cries of War, Joe Thrasher have taken a giant step forward in sound, songwriting, and performance. For Cries of War, Joe Thrasher have refined their collective influences into a sound that evokes some of the finest thrash bands ever to emerge from Canada without sounding ‘just like’ any of them. Even the cover of Exciter’s ‘Canadian Metal’ has Joe Thrasher’s stamp on it (Exciter are probably the most obvious influence on this album) and it’s an excellent way to close out the album.
Right from the beginning though it is obvious that Joe Thrasher not only want to make you bang your head, they want you to remember these songs for a long time. The shouted background vocals underneath the gravel throated roar of singer/bassist Scott Wark are nothing new, but they work so well on the chorus of ‘Cries of War’, ‘This is A Test’ and ‘Out For Blood’ that those choruses will stick I’m your head for days. All three members of Joe Thrasher’s have really put forth an amazing effort to create both ‘songs’ and a complete album here. There is no showing off outside of what is needed for the song and as a result the entire band shines.
There is an obvious passion for what Joe Thrasher are doing and they manage to create an incredible 80’s thrash sound without sounding like a retro band. It’s also worth noting that the band does not resort to bad production to help capture the sound either, Cries of War is a crisp piece of metal that would sound really good on vinyl (hint, hint)!
Cries of War, in my opinion, push Joe Thrasher much closer to the head of the pack not just in Canadian thrash, but Canadian metal in general.