Here at UK Thrashers, although our primary concern are our homegrown acts, we do occasionally allow ourselves a bit of a holiday and venture overseas, especially when there is the promise of top-quality thrash. This time around it is a quick weekend break to the German capital, Berlin, to check out Space Chaser and their 3rd full length (they have also had a couple of EPs and a split release) the rather splendid ‘Give Us Life’.
First impressions, and this goes back to the days of flicking through the metal section of the local record store and stopping at the first cover art to catch your eye. Well ‘Give Us Life’ certainly has one of those ‘jump out at you’ covers, whereas the previous outings (excluding the split release with Distillator) had fairly cartoonish, dare I say almost a bit amateurish covers, this is a stunning piece, very much in keeping with the space theme, with a skeletal, terminator like figure to the fore, amidst a futuristic war torn landscape and an astonishing planetary scene as the backdrop, I’m not sure who the artist is, but they’ve done a cracking job, and if I had seen this in my teens, it would have certainly been winging its way home with me, it still would now!
Moving on to the music, the band eschew the Teutonic sound favoured by their more famous peers, and instead opt for more of an American influenced sound. You can certainly hear that USA influence in the twin axe attack of Martin Hochsattel and Leo Schacht who certainly pay homage to their heroes in the likes of Exodus, Anthrax, Overkill etc, although they unquestionably add enough of their own flavour and incorporate enough twists into the proceedings to not just be copycats or a rehash act. Speaking of Overkill, charismatic frontman ‘Siggi’ (Siegfried Rudzynski) certainly has both a Bruce Dickinson and a Bobby ‘Blitz’ like tone to his vocals, and to my ears old Artillery vocalist Flemming Rönsdorf also comes to mind, having that presentation which is sort of almost unhinged and a bit off the rails, whilst also adding his own touches to create his own style that is just perfect for thrash metal. The production is also spot on, the guitars are cold and clean, meaning that the riffs are easily decipherable, but they have enough bite and crunch to them to ensure that you know this is a thrash album. Underpinning the whole show are the lively basslines of Sebastian Kerlikowski and the adroit drumming of Matthias Scheuere, who together are as solid a rhythm section as you could ask for, and by solid, I don’t mean boring, as they add plenty of interesting chops into the mix to keep things fresh.
Lyrically the band seem to have their own slant on topics, with aliens, the future and dystopian subjects, all with a bit of their own unique humour, although this isn’t as prevalent nor as silly as some other well-known thrash acts. Musically things get off to a blinder with ‘Remnants of Technology’ which is a perfect opener; fast, heavy, and really catchy, and it also has some nice classic trad metal parts to mix it up a bit. ‘Juggernaut’ is next, or should that be ‘Chugganaut’, it’s a bit more mid-paced, with some excellent counter riffing, and is even catchier, its stickier than one of those spiral yellow flytraps your mum used to hang in the kitchen. One of the things that really sticks out with Space Chaser is the sheer fun the guys seem to be having, there’s nothing more these guys like than to make you want to bang your head like a madman. Song wise they keep things interesting as they can alternate between different styles, and different eras for that matter, with ease, take ‘A.O.A.’ and ‘Cryoshock’, either of them could have been written in 1986, both are really fucking brutal, the later with this great twin riff set, at point the one guitar seems to be doing this heavy palm muted chugging while the other is doing a super-fast tremolo part, superb. ‘The Immortals’ and ‘Signals’ are the centrepieces of the album, the first a relentless thrasher with some Slayer like leads, there’s lots of different sections and a really heavy breakdown, while the latter is alternates nicely between unremitting speed and monstrously heavy slower segments. ‘Burn Them All’ is more varied with an adventurous arrangement and some almost Megadeth like sections. The title-track is a real chunky affair, with super heavy riffing and some monstrous double-bass drumming, and another hooky chorus. ‘Antidote to Order’ has a bit more of a punky/crossover feel and a bit of an Anthrax bounce to it and great use of gang chanting chorus. Then the band finish all too soon, with the most ambitious track ‘Dark Descent’, a wonderfully stark and moody piece, with all sorts thrown into the mix, blast-beats, heavy slower sections, and a beautifully melodic outro, with two gorgeous guitar solos, and some quirky riffing.
This album has really come out of the blue for me and has gone straight into my top 2021 album list, the band have really stepped up to the plate with their first release on their new label, this is firmly rooted in old school thrash but with little modern twists, and also little bits from other metal genres, traditional, melodic death metal, and even a little bit of prog. This is an album you need to hear, so what are you waiting for? Sign up now with the army, the army of awesomeness.
Space Chaser – Give Us Life is out NOW on Metal Blade Records