ACID MASS – UPON THE KNIFE

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While the EP is only four tracks it leaves a lasting impression on the listener, this is quality modern thrash that captures what the genre is all about, big riffs, powerful vocals, speed and aggression. At times I’m reminded of acts such as Toxic Holocaust due to the vocal aggression and evil riff tones, but at other times things feel more old school taking me back to earlier works by Slayer. This is just one more release in a string of killer modern thrash releases from the Midwest, whatever you’re doing up there, don’t stop.

Artist: ACID MASS

Album: UPON THE KNIFE

Label: Independent

Release Date: January 19, 2024

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Written by James Sweetlove

I have three words to say before I get into this review “thrash FUCKING metal!” With that out of my system I want to shine some light on one of my favourite thrash EPs in recent memory, UPON THE KNIFE by Ohio’s ACID MASS. This is just one more release in a string of killer modern thrash releases from the Midwest, I’m not sure what’s in the water there, but whatever it is, it seems to be rich in tasty riffs.

To be more precise, ACID MASS aren’t straight up thrash, but rather a blend of thrash, speed and heavy metal all with hardcore punk elements throughout. They employ these elements differently on each track, finding a unique balance between them, a diversity of sound that keeps things fresh and exciting. One moment you may have a furious thrash metal riff fest that gives way to a traditional heavy metal segment before transitioning to a more punk based bass session.

At times I’m reminded of acts such as Toxic Holocaust due to the vocal aggression and evil riff tones, but at other times things feel more old school taking me back to earlier works by Slayer. What I mean by this is that the band aren’t defined by any one act’s sound, they have drawn inspiration from across the thrash spectrum to create their own unique sound and style. There is one more reason why I’m reminded of Toxic Holocaust, and that’s the fact that Ben Ricketts is the sole member behind this whole project, just as Joel Grind with TH’s earlier albums. It makes this whole EP that much more impressive, as you can see the mastery of both the guitar and the vocals on this release.

I appreciate the fact that despite only having four tracks to work with, the band still take time to create a menacing atmosphere on Wretched euphoria, with a sinister intro and a doom style lead in featuring some wild thrash shredding in the background. All of this opens up into a wild thrash filled maelstrom of energy, where powerful barked vocals burst through a wall of riffs before returning to an almost doom like guitar segment with some bluesy elements woven in. I want to also give a shoutout to Neutralizer for having my favourite riffs on the album and to Rotting savior for the best bass work on the relase.

While the EP is only four tracks it leaves a lasting impression on the listener. This is top quality modern thrash that captures everything that the genre is all about, big riffs, powerful vocals, speed and aggression. So if you want something short and punchy that will get your head banging and your car speeding, then blast this on loud on repeat a couple of times.




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