Thursday, February 3, 2011

Erosion - Thoughts (1990)

Continuing their quota for hideous or underwhelming cover images, Erosion returned two years post-Mortal Agony for their second album, a step forward in aggression that doesn't sacrifice the band's minor, clinical tech-thrash leanings. Thoughts is not necessarily more thoughtful than the debut, but the band seemed to have a firmer grasp on what they are trying to achieve here, which is to alternate the sheer force of mosh oriented thrash with spikes of claustrophobic calamity. Chris Zenk has dialed up his own vitriol here, with vocals that only begin with Mille or Tom Angelripper, tortured enough that it feels as if his entrails were being systematically removed with a crude, sharp instrument throughout the recording process.

Alas, Thoughts is an example of an album which had a lot of ideas going into its inception, but few that will remain rattling around your skull once the 33 minutes have ended. Riffs often feel very disjointed, as if they were simply being thrown together into loose structures that don't really alter the emotional or violent impact of the composition. Examples would be the blustering of "The Scourge" or the gravity defying title track, which both contains some cool guitars colliding against much filler writing. "Thoughts" in particular shows some real progression from the debut, almost as if it were a leftover from Voivod's Dimension Hatross sessions with a more blunt and hostile vocalist at the fore. A little deeper into the procession, "Nightmare" lurches forward on heavy legs, straining for momentum but evoking at least a few moments of atmosphere, while the instrumental "Strike" provides a good chunk of the album's better riffs, and would have only benefited from vocals.

The only track that I'd actually dub 'shit' is the final piece, "Change", which is some bizarre rock festival that feels sporadic and tacked on, though there is some structure to the guitars. Zenk has an overbearing venom in his voice here not unlike Sabbat's Martin Walkyier, but really, this song just does not belong with the rest. It sucks. But then, the rest of Thoughts is hardly worth getting excited for. I don't much care for the crunchy, crisp tone of the guitars here, which serves to somewhat drown out the bass, and even though the band play very well in time, there is this pervasive, sloppy effervescence that leaves an unwelcome stench behind. That said, it's not a bad album if you like a mix of raw aggression and proficiency in your thrash. Just don't expect it to dwell in your own 'thoughts' for very long.

Verdict: Indifference [6/10]

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