GraveRipper blast black metal into meaty thrash on storming, punishing EP ‘Radiated Remains’

Thrash metal is a style of music that I approach with heavy skepticism, and that’s because of my love for this sub-genre. I grew up really cutting my teeth on the heavier stuff with thrash, as I remember buying a Testament cassette in my youth, having a tape from a band called Overkill recommended to me, then going back and buying it. The rest is history. I love it. And when bands fuck it up, I hate it.

Luckily today, we have something that added fuel to my thrash metal flame, that being Indianapolis-based maulers GraveRipper. Their new EP “Radiated Remains” is in our grasp, and holy hell is this a smasher. They’re also not coming at this from a traditional thrash perspective as they douse a whole lot of black metal stylings into their work, making this six-track release even more volatile. That’s one of the things that sets apart this band—vocalist/guitarist Corey Parks, guitarist Keegan Hrybyk, bassist Chris Pilotte, drummer Jacob Lett—as they bring a much more dangerous edge to thrash, but they do it in a way that while you might feel at risk at times during this, you always come out of it feeling energized.

“Instinctive Extinction” is a quick start intro cut that is kind of the beast opening its eyes, as the guitars awaken, and then we’re into “Atoms Divide” that just attacks and chugs heavily as the vocals crush, with Parks wailing, “You will die tonight,” over the chorus. The track thrashes and savages as the vocals get grisly, the track storms heavily, and everything comes to a fiery finish. “All Life Decays” trudges in, landing heavy body blows with the vocals scraping off scabs. The chorus kills as the riffs strike, feeling evil and destructive, ripping as hard as humanly possible, leaving you gasping. “Cherenkov Light” has meaty riffs as the vocals slash by, and the chorus is simple by design, howling the title back, as blistering, splattering playing leaves you with heavy bruising. “Complete Blinding Darkness” has a great, punishing pace, knifing its way into your guts, with Parks spitting rage. The band is utterly pulverizing, blasting through on the verses, and aiming to break your bones. “King Killer” is dark and thrashing, with Parks taunting, “You will never grow old!” Black metal-style leads slice through muscle as it spills from your gaping wounds, delivering an infectious, violent assault. The track keeps trucking, accumulating bodies, while everything suddenly burns out. This is the final track on the digital version, but the physical also has the 2020 “Complete Blinding Darkness” tacked on at the end, a nice, raw bonus.

GraveRipper have a stranglehold on black thrash, something they prove over and over on “Radiated Remains,” which is smothering and satisfying as hell. I’m a long-time thrash fan, and not just everything registers with me because of that, but these guys absolutely nail this style. This is fun and frantic as shit, and I’m really looking forward to hearing what they can do with a full length.

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