Ukraine crushers Mortal Vision push thrash attack, bask in war and fury on ‘Mind Manipulation’

I don’t know what it is about thrash metal, but it’s not a style that’s easily picked up, evidence of which comes from the trash pile of bands that have tried it, failed, and kind of disappeared. It feels like this type of metal is solely in the hands of the of the pioneers who also mostly lost their grasp of the sound, but there hasn’t been much in the way of groups capable of picking up and carrying the banner.

But that’s not a terminal state. We’ve seen bands do it—we just visited with Wraith a few weeks back who more than prove their meddle—and now we have another contender in Ukrainian force Mortal Vision, who have their debut record “Mind Manipulation” for your perusal. Turns out the art form isn’t dead as these four—vocalist/guitarist Ivan Dyshlyuk, guitarist Andrey Gayduk, bassist Ivan Gorbatyuk, drummer Eugene Zakharchenko—sound like they’ve been sent here from the war-torn 1980s to fight these battles all over again. And it’s relevant because the same struggles then haunt us now, and these guys deliver the goods over and over on their eight-track, 33-minute first offering.

The title track starts the record with an explosion and then we’re off with classic ’80s thrash with nuclear anxieties. Everything here is properly blistering as the soloing heats flesh, and the vocals carve at your nerves. The playing is punishing and gritty, fittingly ending with another hellish burst. “Eternal Hatred” has strong riffs and raspy shouts, feeling like your teeth are being crushed. The chorus is vicious, and everything around it is mangling, bruising with power as the band whips you in the face. “Apophenia” rips open as strong bass playing recoils, and the thrashing is meaty and massive. The pace speeds up as the vocals are spat out with tornadic rage, the guitars scorch again, and the ending is vile and vicious. “Raw Poison” punches right away as it takes no time for things to get thrashy as hell, blasting through and sending rock flying. “Don’t let your mind be haunted!” Dyshlyuk howls as the soloing lights up, and thrashy power takes the track into a pile of rubble.

“Condemned to Death” is clobbering when it starts, ripping through your muscles with the vocals pelting you with shards of glass. The verses lay into you and loosen brick while the guitars go off, blinding you before the track ends abruptly. “Possessed” mashes away with the guitars catching fire and everything just going insane, feeling a little off kilter in a really cool way. The track gets nastier as it goes, aiming for your eye sockets, carving away with lathering leads that bury you in its filth. “Forced Extermination” explodes in and splatters you with blood and bone, even bringing some added melody for your own good. The chorus is fun, a simple recitation of the title where forced is pronounced “for-CED,” rumbling into your chest. “Devastated Existence” is the final blow, whipping in with nasty vocals and sweltering leads, sometimes going mid-paced but remaining heavy as hell. Leads wail as the playing floods over, the basslines hammer, and the track ends in a pile of ash.

I’m always wary of new thrash bands because it’s the one style of metal that doesn’t seem to translate as well between generations, but Mortal Vision have done their homework as their debut “Mind Manipulation” goes to show. All the tenets are here, almost like they lived through the era several decades ago, which is relieving to know there are younger artists out there that have absorbed the blood from the roots. This is a killer record, a really fun blast for any thrash fan no matter how old and miserable one may be.

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