When: Thu., Jan. 14, 8:30 p.m. 2016
SUPPRESSIVE FIRE | THURSDAY, JAN. 14
SLIM'S, RALEIGH—After a strong 2014 demo and a fun 2015 covers EP, Raleigh thrash gang Suppressive Fire is finally unleashing Bedlam upon the world. The trio's full-length debut has already earned national attention, with Decibel, metal's magazine of record, noting "Joel Grind's always got his mitts in some killer project, and this North Carolina death-thrash trio is no exception."
The Toxic Holocaust frontman mixed and mastered Bedlam. He is a fitting collaborator for Suppressive Fire, whose revisionist thrash embraces speed metal forebears but swings freely into old-school death metal and prog-inflected offshoots.
Guitarist Joseph Bursey concedes the band's inspirations but notes that the magic happens when they're mixed.
"You can listen to Bedlam and hear a ton of influence, but it doesn't sound exactly like any one band in particular," he says. "We measure ourselves against our influences in a manner that drives us to do our own thing."
To wit, Bursey notes he favors classic rock, while drummer Brandon Smith tends toward technical death metal and bassist/singer Aaron Schmidt favors doom. Those influences shine through Bedlam as much as any revivalist thrash tendencies. Smith's drumming lunges from steady D-beat into explosive blast beats. Schmidt's growls fit neatly into riffs, and his bass finds a deliberate groove. Bursey moves easily from thrash sprints to aggressive solos that suggest Thin Lizzy covering Slayer, or vice versa. "Ceasefire" dresses a Reign In Blood assault with nimble percussion. "Crucify the Kings" digs deep into a death metal groove reminiscent of Obituary, as Smith and Bursey push the pace against Schmidt's vocals.
"For every song, there's probably 20 riff variations that get chiseled down to what the song wants to be," Bursey says of Bedlam's construction. That careful revision pays dividends for the band. With Bedlam, Suppressive Fire fits rather nicely alongside the region's metallic exports.
"How do you compare yourselves to a music scene that generated Corrosion of Conformity and Between the Buried and Me?" Bursey asks. "I hope one day we're mentioned in Raleigh's legacy, but until then, we're just going keep doing our thing and let Raleigh's metal scene decide where we fit."
With the resurrected death metal horde Eldritch Horror and fellow thrashers Temple Crusher. 9 p.m., $5, 227 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh, 919-833-6557, www.slimsraleigh.com. —Bryan C. Reed