Here’s a great way to start 2021, a brand-new UK Thrash album, Trapped in Purgatory’s “Damned Nation”, is a fine slab of prime metal and just the way to shrug off those January blues. As I mentioned in my review of the December single ‘Demonicide’, this album is almost 30 years in the making, and if you want a brief history of Trapped in Purgatory’s origins; in former bands Purgatory and FourWayKill, then see that review here, basically they were criminally overlooked, the ‘close, but no cigar’ of the UK thrash scene, but undeterred, Chris (vocals), Jason and Andy (guitars), Jon (bass) and Marc (drums), persisted and have come up with “Damned Nation”, which is all about the here and now (and the future), so fuck the past, lets dive straight in…
Starting, as all thrash albums worth their salt should, with a tasty acoustic instrumental, ‘Prelude to War’ kicks things off, then with some gunfire and battle sounds, “Hung Out to Die” announces its arrival with riffs spitting out like bullets, a fast aggressive song to ‘ease’ us in, as it were, with a great shout along chorus. “Spit it Out” starts with an almost Maiden like guitar solo, with a soaring melody, before a slightly groove inspired riff, then the drums pick up the march, again another great catchy chorus, Chris really spits out the lyrics (see what I did there?) with a real passion, there’s some more great lead guitar work before the band pummel you to the end. “Demonicide” is up next and is a great choice as the lead single, it’s a great summary of the album as a whole, relentless double bass drums, massive down-picked riff sections all topped off with Chris’ unique gruff, melodic vocals. “Patient Zero” (referencing Covid 19 maybe?) and the title-track follow, keeping the momentum going nicely,
“Damned Nation” itself is a bit slower, after an Eastern flavoured intro it then proceeds to bludgeon you around the head with it’s with heavy incessant riffing, yet incorporating some nice dynamics to keep it interesting, then a slower very heavy thrash breakdown, then there’s the faster instrumental section, before galloping to a great conclusion, it really is a great centrepiece for the album. “Apex Predator” then ramps the speed up for a full-blown thrash monster, with a slight Overkill feel to these ears. The biggest surprise, and the bravest track is the excellent “Beyond the Rubicon”, the band really flexing their songwriting muscles to create a really unique song, and the addition of guest vocals by Theresa Smith, from Bournemouth based progressive metal band Metaprism, is a stroke of genius, really lifting the track to another level, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it works wonderfully well.
Then to end the album we have the two shortest, and in “Out of the Fire (Into the Pit)” the fastest track, a real barnstormer, while last track the mostly mellow “Ashen Tide” allows a bit of a cool down and a period for reflecting what has proceeded, before a flurry of riffs and spiralling leads at the finale.
Sound wise the guys have absolutely nailed it, mastered by Maclej Dawidek, the album sounds huge, the guitars have a really good crunch and sharpness to them, like an axe to the skull, while the rhythm section is thick and punchy, underpinning everything else, while Chris sounds clear and powerful in the overall mix. One other thing to mention is the stunning cover art by Andy Pilkington, it really is a cracking piece of work, and could be any of our current world, so called ‘leaders’, it’s a classic thrash album cover, with a contemporary twist to it, it really works well.
This is a wonderful album and it’s great to see the guys finally having the fruits of their labours rewarded. If this album had been released last year, it wouldn’t have been politely knocking at the door of my top 10 albums, it would have been bashing it down with a bloody big hammer.
With the risk of repeating myself, what a start to 2021, this one is going to be on the death deck for quite some time.
Follow the band on Spotify https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/trappedinpurgatory/demonicide
Damned Nation will be unleashed worldwide on the following dates…
29th January 2021 – Digital Release
26th February 2021 – Physical release