Holy mother of fuck, where did these guys come from and why haven’t I heard of them before? Normally if I’m giving an obscure and unknown band a really high score it’s because despite its low production value, it does something incredibly unique and spectacular that I can ignore, or in the best case, embrace the fact that it’s not professionally made. This is not the case of Pleiades. No, despite being an almost completely unknown band (at least here in the states), Mutant crafted not only an album that sounds big budget and well produced, but takes the now stale and dying genre of thrash metal to a whole new level I haven’t seen this century. And yes, that includes Vektor.
Before even attempting to listen to this album, you need to let go of all expectations of what thrash metal is supposed to sound like. Or better yet, don’t and be totally blown away like I was. Because this isn’t a revival album. This isn’t trying to bring back the glory days of thrash. No, this is Two Thousand and fucking Sixteen. It’s time for a new style for a new era.
The vocals? They’re so harsh they border on death metal at times. Which is fitting because the guitars are so downtuned there are times where it legit sounds like tech death. This is aggressive and angry as fuck thrash metal, so much so I have no shame in admitting that I head banged copiously and flailed around my dorm room like a retard on ecstasy. Makes me wonder what kind of image would come up if Google Earth happened to be taking pictures right by my window at that time, just in time to see a skinny guy in an Ahab shirt apparently having either the happiest or angriest seizure ever experienced.
But the kicker? That’s not all this album does. I’d say it’s barely over half actually. What separates his album over all other modern thrash is that it ISN’T just a headbanger, it ISN’T just aggressive, and it ISN’T a copycat album. You want to know what modern thrash sounds like? How about adding dark/tribal ambient sections to your music? I mean what better way to set up the mood for an album about the Mayan Apocalypse than setting the mood with dark, sinister synths, closing and beginning certain tracks as if warning as to what is to come.
You want modern thrash? How about tritones as your main chord. There are multiple sections in this album that show off these old school djenty / othodox black metal like tritone chords that I’ve never heard in a thrash album before. Now, it’s true that lots of old school thrash bands use tritones, but the way these two bands utilize them is entirely different. Thrash bands typically utilize the tritone found in a blues scale. So like they’re E a few times then hold a Bb, before descending back to E with A and G. So the scale would be E, G, A, Bb, Cb, D, E. A pretty common scale it lots of old rock, metal, and well uh, blues of course. However Mutant doesn’t do that. On Road to Xigbalba, the main chord of the track is A, Bb, E. Now, that sounds similar to a blues scale, because you played E to Bb, it would be a blues scale tritone. But not here, because the actual focus of the tritone is A and Bb. The scale ends up being A, Bb, C, D, E, F, G, A. Do you know what that fucking scale is? THAT’S FUCKING A PHRYGIAN. WHO THE FUCK WRITES A THRASH SONG IN A, FUCKING PHRYGIAN? Classical musicians don’t even write music in that mode because it’s so archaic. It’s absolute madman level of crazy… but it fucking works. And it’s not even the only time they use atonal chords.
Oh but I’m sorry, that’s not enough cool shit? How about jazz chords as well. Actually you know what would be really cool in a thrash album? A song that begins as a full on dark ambient track, transitions perfectly into a jazz prog track, and then transition again IN ABSOLUTE PERFECTION into an aggressive, melodic, proggy thrash track with an amazing mix of clean and harsh vocals. You want that? Of course you fucking do, and it’s on this god damn album on Children of the River, which I would say is the best track on the album, but I don’t even think I can decide that without feeling like I’m leaving another track out.
This album is absolutely everything thrash could be that it isn’t right now. It has all that I could want, but never have. In essence, this is the future of trash metal. If only people could actually give this a listen.