Euan grabs a bottle of rum, and weights anchor in search of new thrash from Gama Bomb, here’s what he found when he finished in the rigging…
Northern Ireland’s Thrash Metal kings, Gama Bomb, are back with their new record ‘Sea Savage’. This album comes out just in time to leave this horrible year with a Thrashtastic sweetness before we venture into the unknown of 2021. Now I’ll be totally honest here and admit that I’ve never listened to a Gama Bomb album in full before this one. I’ve had a few of their songs saved on my Spotify and I’ve seen them live, but I never braved the Thrash-gasm of a stocked 40 minutes. Will ‘Sea Savage’ prove me a fool? Let’s find out…
This album starts off with a banging double whammy of ‘Judo Killer’ & the album’s title track. These two songs are a sufficient showcase of the two sides to Gama Bomb’s style on this record. ‘Judo Killer’ immediately gives off a strong 80’s Judas Priest vibe, especially in it’s riff-work and vocal delivery. The catchy chorus is straight out of Screaming For Vengeance. Then we fire into the albums title track and are immediately thrust head first into a fat trasher in the spirit of a modern Exodus or Testament. These two tracks make it clear that Gama Bomb love to jump from one aspect of the genre to another willy-nilly. I love when bands can acknowledge the cheese-y and serious sides of thrash on an album. I also have to give a mention to the use of traditional sea shanties in the lyrics, they never fail to put a smile on my face, even after half a dozen listens.
At this point I’d love to give credit to James Stewart, formally of Decapitated and Vader, who makes his Gama Bomb debut behind the kit. Stewart perfectly balances a tight thrash backbone while delivering flurrying fills left and right that are both intense and interesting but are never overplayed or overbearing. His playing is definitely a welcome addition to the band.
The album rages on with ‘Miami Supercops’, another solid track, and promptly pummels the listener with thrasher after thrasher until we reach track 7, ‘Sheer Kahn’. This banger is catchy beyond belief, and it’s placement on the album must’ve been very on purpose as it adds a delicious change of pace after having your face melted by the first half’s velocity assault. This song had very old school vibe but coated in a scrumptious modern glaze, keeping it fresh and interesting but also nostalgic and warming.
Arguably Gama Bomb’s most defining feature, at least from the point of view of a fairly passive fan, are the unique vocals from Philly Byrne. Byrne combines blitzing falsettos and a general verbal wackiness and nowhere is it more engaging than on the next track, ‘Rusty Jaw’. Listening to this fabulous tune on the way to my dull 9-5 definitely works better than a morning coffee at waking me the hell up.
The last few tracks on the album definitely don’t loosen the grip. From the twin guitar attack of ‘Ready, Steady, Goat!’ to the album’s penultimate rager, ‘Electric Pentacle’, this album isn’t ending without one last brutal battering of the listeners ears.
So after a good few full listens, and more loops of my personal favourite tracks, I must say this albums has slapped me awake out of whatever dream world i was living in WITHOUT Gama Bomb in my life. All the instrumentation is solid. The vocals and drums give the album a personality that I’d love to share a pint or ten with. The lyrics are fun, the solos are blistering, aside from a couple of filler tracks, there is really little to fault about this album.
‘Sea Savage’ is out everywhere December 4 via Prosthetic Records.