Jayaprakash Satyamurthy reviews the reissue of the album from Besieged titled Victims Beyond All Help, released via Unspeakable Axe Records.
‘Victims Beyond All Help’
This is fierce! Besieged isn’t just another gang of wistful reprobates longing for a mid-80s utopia of denim vests and white hi-top sneakers. They’re a fast, furious band who prove that thrash metal isn’t just an outmoded subgenre or an exercise in nostalgia. As far as I’m concerned, there are very few thrash revival acts out there worth listening to, and Besieged’s straight-for-the-jugular attack and relentless barrage of whipcracking riffage make it clear that they’re here to chew gum and kick some ass.
Remember when Sepultura was awesome? I’m talking Beneath The Remains and Arise. Remember Dark Angel at their peak? Remember how there was a time when death metal and thrash weren’t that far apart, when you could hear the genres bleeding into each other at the edges? Besieged operates in that space, but that’s not to say that their sound is a throwback. A song like the simply-titled, aggressively perfect ‘Death’ with its swirling riffs constantly ratcheting up the heaviness factor isn’t just an attempt to recreate the past; it’s an absolutely up-to-the-minute, vital and immediate song in a genre that still has a lot of life in it in the right hands. Nolan Smit’s furious, barked-out vocal delivery is pleasingly reminiscent of Max Cavalera at his most furious or Mille Petroza in his earlier years. Unlike the usual Bay Area necrophilia, the riffing draws as much on the Teutonic thunder of very Sodom as it does on American thrash. This makes for a volatile cocktail, one that erupts with dazzling incendiary violence on another album highlight, ‘The End’ or the title track, a veritable feast of riffs with enough chunky, sizzling mosh fodder to whet even the most jaded appetite.
There’s nary a misstep on this steaming platter of some of the juiciest thrash metal it has been my pleasure to consume in the past decade or so. The album was originally independently released, and major props are due to Dark Descent’s thrash sub-label, Unspeakable Axe who’ve picked another real winner for their sophomore release. I can’t wait to see what this band, and this label, has lined up for us next!