Frank reviews the new album by Swedish/US Thrashers Methane, and catches up with vocalist Tim for a chat about the band and the album
The second full length offering from “Methane” has been delayed more often than a British rail train.Its an album that promises much, but can “Kill it with fire” deliver? With three singles already released, it may already be familiar to some of you.
With a clash of styles in the form of bassist “Tim Scott” formerly of New Jersey Death metal outfit “Revenant” and ex “Hell Patrol” guitar man “Jimi Masterbo”, hitting each other head-on, the result is a full-on thrash feast. The duo is now joined by “Markus Grundstom” as a second guitarist and “Jonathon Fundin” adding some extra aggression on drum duties, finally completing the lineup that has been a bit fluid for the last few years.
Recorded at the Sellnoise studio’s in Sweden and produced by “Jonas Arnberg”, who has been described by Tim as the fifth member of the band, He even had a stint behind the drum kit filling in during a few live shows, so he can say he is a fully paid up ex member.” Jonas” doesn’t just twiddle the controls either, letting the musicians know when something isn’t working then directing them to try something different. The overall sound is full on and well produced, getting the balance of the musicians and vocals just about spot on, capturing the essence of the music, without over polishing it and killing the groove the band wanted to get across.
While this album in the main is faster and heavier than its predecessor, 2017’S debut “The Devil’s Own”. the influences the band draws from can be heard from all across the metal spectrum. Everything from “Slayer” and “Havok” to down and dirty booze soaked rock and roll. The first three tracks showcase the variety in the music, while in the main keeping to the thrash blueprint but then adding their own unique touches to keep them apart from their contemporaries.
The opening couple of tracks couldn’t be more different, it really shows the variety on the album, showcasing their ability as songwriters and musicians. The first and title track “Kill it with fire” has been about for a while as a single. It sets the pace of the album perfectly. Beginning with a crescendo of noise before delivering a furious thrash riff reminiscent at times of fellow Swedes “Dr Living Dead”. Tim’s vocal delivery varies throughout the track from straight up thrash style to a death metal growl, which is a theme throughout the album. Next up is “Accuser” is more mid paced and brings with it a rock and roll vibe. Starting off with an angry torrent of abuse in the form of a voice-over that bleeds into the opening guitar salvo. The riffs keep coming shifting direction and pace as the song continues with the lyrics delivered in the same aggressive manner as the aforementioned voiceover.
Track five “A Blood Red Sky” brings a collaboration with “CJ Scioscia” from east coast thrashers “Blood feast”. This is a straight up old school thrasher and a welcome addition to the fray. During a quick catch up i asked Tim how this came about.
“Well, I’m from New Jersey originally, the first time I played with Blood Feast, I was in a thrash band called Parasyte. That was before Revenant.
We hooked up with Blood at a festival we played in Brooklyn, NY (Rage of Armageddon) and have been talking about doing gigs together since then. It’s fun to get friends involved so I just asked CJ if he wanted to grind one out for us. CJ has his own studio, I think he had it back to us with in a few days. Great dude!”
I really like this record. It has much to offer. Not just for an average thrash metal fan, but for lovers of metal full stop. The variation is enough to keep you listening, and with seven tracks the listener’s mind doesn’t get distracted like it can on twelve track all filler non killer records that seem to be in vogue these days. I asked at the beginning of the review if it can deliver, and the answer is a resounding yes.
I also had a chance to ask a few other questions To Tim, many thanks to you for taking the time out to chat with me.
With a couple of singles already released, Thin the Herd and declare chaos, how long did the recording process take?
“We just released a third single Shock and Awe as well now on video and streaming. This album was supposed to come out a few years ago to tell you the truth, we have some kind of curse on the band I think. The writing started a long time ago, these songs have elements from 4 members who aren’t in with the band anymore. Methane is now its 7th drummer and our real life Spinal Tap adventure has been the reason for the delay. We started writing the Kill It with Fire album with drummer #2 Olle Ekman (Deals Death/Amaranthe) but one day we came into the rehearsal studio and he apparently evaporated leaving just a green stain on the drum stool, drummers 3,4, and 5 only did live gigs and touring drummer #6 Hans Karlin (Letters From the Colony) was abducted for reasearch by aliens after recording Declare Chaos. Now we have Jonathan who finished writing the album and recorded it. We have a 24 hour surveillance on him to protect him from big foot attacks, we would like to keep him around for awhile. With that said Methane is already halfway done with album #3, at least the writing of it. “
How has the transition from death metal with Revenant to a European style thrash been, was it easy to make?
“The original idea with Methane has been, for both Jimi and I, a departure from playing DM. We both have been playing death metal for years and just wanted to do something with groove. Not necessarily re-invent the wheel, but playing something we didn’t have to count all the time and can just kind of feel it. If its European style IDK, we both love thrash, old and new school, and NYC hardcore. I started playing thrash, old Sodom covers like Sepulchral Voice and Destruction’s Mad Butcher, then original stuff, so thrash has always been in my backbone. “
The album seems to have many influences from hard rock to death elements, is that something you wanted to convey from the outset, or did it evolve naturally as the writing went on?
“Yeah, kind of. We want to be dynamic in our writing as long as it stays cohesive. I think we are getting more extreme and more aggressive as we progress.
Tim, are you splitting your time between the US and Sweden, if so how does that affect the mechanics of the band.
“No, I live in Sweden full-time been here for 22 years. Raised my kids here. Played in some Death Metal bands here. I’m pretty much a Viking now. “
You seem to be a more settled lineup these days, how hard was it to find the right guys
“Well… drummers. Otherwise, Markus has been in the band after my brother Dylan got deported back to the U.S. I hope we are done with member changes for a while. “
With some decent tours supporting other well known bands under your belt, have you any plans to support this record with a full tour, including some uk dates
“We have some gigs with Nervosa coming up in the spring here in Sweden. Finland is also been talked about. We are really itching to get out and play.
But the UK is on my bucket list. I desperately want to come over. I was actually in London at the O2 for the Bay Strikes Back tour, back at the onset of the plague. The thrash scene there is amazing, you guys have tons of great bands and clubs. I am watching it in awe. If you know anyone who wants to help us set up some gigs let me know, we are ready!”
Due for release January 27th
Available via Methanes Bandcamp on all formats.