Wise is the Beast … but the Hunter Doesn’t Know
A recent entry in Stormspell Records’ successful “Trend Killers” series of midpriced CD releases is Italy’s Interceptor, with their curiously titled ‘Wise is the Beast … but the Hunter Doesn’t Know’ album. I haven’t noticed any detectable buzz about this release, perhaps because of the dodgy cover art, the cumbersome (albeit clever) title, or the sheer volume of quality product that Stormspell unleashes onto the marketplace every few months. But ‘Wise is the Beast’ is an album that speed/thrash aficionados would be strongly advised to investigate, so let’s go in for a closer look. The label describes Interceptor’s sound as being akin to early Overkill, Tyrant’s Reign, Blessed Death, Whiplash, Iron Angel and so on. I would agree with those comparisons insofar as they encapsulate the speed/power/thrash hybrid aspects of Interceptor’s music. But ‘Wise is the Beast’ is also noteworthy for its wild, raw, careening-off-the-rails energy that recalls the likes of early Hirax or Destruction (or Finland’s Ranger for a more current example) in some ways. So what Interceptor are dishing up is a supersized dose of unbridled adrenaline, power and reckless devil-may-care exuberance. Tempos are almost uniformly speedy, vocals are screechy but effective (like a combination of the Stallion guy, Schmier and latter-day Katon De Pena), and the dual guitars are lethal but occasionally melodic (check out the big guitar theme tossed in for a few seconds in “Flag of the Fallen Peace” to see what I mean). Thankfully, Interceptor manage to avoid the trap that has ensnared so many rethrash bands of having faceless songs that blast along mindlessly until they blur together in an amorphous, indistinguishable, tiresome blob. By contrast, most of the tunes on ‘Wise is the Beast’ do have discernable hooks, cool riffs and distinct identities that keep things from becoming too monotonous or one-dimensional in the 43-minute playing time. Interceptor also throw an unexpected curveball at the listener with the last track, a pretty much straight cover of Def Leppard’s “Me and My Wine” off the ‘High’n’Dry’ album. I certainly didn’t see that coming and I’m not altogether sure it works, but I applaud the band for thinking outside the box.
Obviously, the marketplace has become saturated with old-school thrash bands in recent years. There are so many of them, and so many are lacking in any kind of individual identity, that it can seem easier just to ignore them all. That would be a mistake, particularly when bands like Interceptor (not a pure thrash band to be sure, but probably more thrash than anything else) are producing vibrant, fresh works that capture the spirit of their classic forebears without blindly aping them. Wise is the metalhead who listens to Interceptor, but the masses may never know.
~ Review by Kit Ekman~