Picks: Lich King, While She Sleeps, Craven Idol

With half-hearted apologies for a rather longer period of silence than usual, this week’s Picks presents a trio of releases that aren’t all as new as our usual fodder, but are deserving of a belated visit. We go way back with two of these bands so we’re naturally delighted to get on board with their new stuff as feverishly as anything they’ve done.

Lich King
The Omniclasm
Self-released
[Spotify]

So much of what distinguishes one modern thrash metal band from another is about feel. Some bands don’t have it. Their revival thrash just sounds like a million others. Fine by us. But some bands do have it, and Lich King have always been one of those bands. Their new album, The Omniclasm, delivers their usual fast and crunchy thrash riffing. The guitar solos are fantastic and the songs are, largely, pretty huge. But what puts Lich King in the upper reaches of the modern thrash league table – albeit on the quiet – is the distinct impression that the whole shebang is forever on the precipice of total madness.

While She Sleeps
You Are We
Self-released
[Spotify]

Some bands can be relied upon. There’s no denying that While She Sleeps have pushed ahead with a tweak to their sound under their new self-sufficient regime. It was clear from the first single that there was going to be a change. But Sleeps fans – and we both count ourselves pretty robustly amongst their number – go with the band because they know they can be trusted. So, by way of a review, we say only this to Sean, Mat, Loz, Aaron and Sav: you did it. Thank you. We’re with you every step of the way because You Are We, just like Brainwashed and This Is The Six before it, absolutely rips. And not just because we’re in one of the videos.

Craven Idol
The Shackles Of Mammon
Dark Descent Records
[Spotify]

A weird place, the world of blackened thrash metal. It ranges from the cartoonish to the genuinely dark and vicious, and the slightest deviation in sound can make a band veer from one end of the spectrum to the other. London’s Craven Idol betray precious little silliness on their second album, The Shackles Of Mammon, which tears into maniacal opener ‘Pyromancer’ and then explores a range of tempos and flavours of nastiness. ‘The Trudge’ is one of the slower and better tracks on a record that more often gallops along, screeching through lead guitar loveliness and unexpected little flashes that give it a satisfying edge.

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