(No Remorse 2014)
This Greek quartet is aptly named. Their music really is like a runaway freight train demolishing everything in its path, just as depicted by the brilliant cover painting courtesy of renowned artist Dimitar Nikolov. There is no sublety, no nuance, no pretention on display here, just 11 songs of fast-paced, sledgehammer energetic metal. There’s a good bit of ‘Kill ‘Em All’ era Metallica (a little “Metal Militia” here, a dash of “Whiplash” or a pinch of “No Remorse” there) in the riff structures of the Karakas brothers, as well as some Motorhead, some Riot and some faster NWOBHM (Satan, Jaguar, Avenger, etc.). What makes this ‘Unleash the Hordes’ album shine is that, for all their relentless speed and manic intensity, those riffs frequently manage to be catchy and melodic. And that, really, is the genius of Demolition Train. They take simple straightahead songs, laden with half-shouted heavily accented vocals (the chorus of the title track sounds like “Unleech dee Oars”), and turn them into magic with those speedy, fistbanging, ridiculously old-fashioned guitar riffs.
Demolition Train are the kind of band that a killjoy could slag mercilessly as derivative, one-dimensional, and repetitive. But the critics have it all wrong. ‘Unleash the Hordes’ is not an album meant to be analyzed, dissected, diagrammed and placed under a microscope. No, this album is meant to be consumed in the midst of a wild night at full volume after a few adult beverages. Just rock out, let yourself go, and enjoy the waves of speed and energy as they wash over you. Close your eyes, and you can see the sweat pouring off the band members as Demolition Train rip through these tunes in a small, smoke-filled, ouzo-soaked dram shop somewhere in Athens. Songs like “Wrecking Crew,” “Metal Mayhem,” the band’s namesake “Demolition Train,” and “All Hell is Breaking Loose” may not be innovative or original in the slightest, but they capture the spirit, the power, the energy and the sheer unbridled exuberance of underground, blue-collar, old-school heavy metal. And for that reason, I am quite fond of this ‘Unleash the Hordes’ album (even if a couple of songs like “Hell on Earth” take their foot off the gas pedal with less spectacular results). Calculating, cerebral listeners need not bother with Demolition Train, but for those who just want to crank up and rock out like it was 1983 all over again, you’ve got another “buy-or-die” album to add to your list for 2015.
~ Review by Kit Ekman ~