I have a small confession to make: I’m not a big fan of thrash. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s some bands in the genre that I absolutely love, but on the whole, too many thrash bands come across as that bit too safe and predictable for my tastes. And whilst Greek thrashers Amken may not break the mold, they tick all the right boxes, ensuring that Adrenaline Shot is fast-paced and fun, sounding barely under control and like it could slip in to chaos at almost any moment. Which is exactly how I like my thrash to be.
Heavily influenced by the Bay Area sound, Adrenaline Shot opens with the title track, which sounds exactly how you’d hope a song with that name would. It’s fast, intense, technical (but not overly so), and a whole lot of fun. As if to hammer that point home, it’s followed by “Zombie Pets”, which is (sadly) the kind of title that played a large part in my disinterest in the whole thrash revival that happened a few years ago, but this song makes me wonder if maybe the joke was on me. It thrashes like a maniac, includes a great breakdown section in the middle, and is one of those rare songs which is bolstered by its humour rather than suffers for it. There’s a bit of crossover feel to it, too. It sounds great on record, and I imagine it fucking slays when played live.
The second half of the EP slows things down a touch, but we’re hardly in to doom metal territory, and there’s even a few tasteful, well handled progressive tendencies on show. “NIghtmares” demonstrates that Amken handle mid-tempo sections just as well as they do galloping speeds, whilst “God’s Asleep” has a superb opening section, with excellent interplay between the guitars and drums, before continuing at a mid-tempo. It’s the most mature of the four songs on offer, with a fairly dark and serious vibe that does its title justice. The staccato melody that accompanies the verses is catchy as hell, and the choruses are pretty heavy, possessing the gravitas the band are aiming for, as do the tasteful solos and leads. It’s a smart, sensible way to close the record, showing that Amken possess immense talent, and can be mature when they want to be. A final word must go to the solos throughout the EP; they are, without exception, killer.
As noted above, I’m not too big on thrash, but when I like a thrash band, I really like them. On the basis on Adrenaline Shot, it has to be said that I really like Amken. They possess the right mix of humour, talent, and occasional maturity, as well as obvious passion, and have written something that is worth checking out.