Gama Bomb – “Sea Savage” (Prosthetic Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Old school thrash metal from Ireland, underpants from China! The Emerald Isle’s answer to Tankard and other ‘fun’ thrash bands, Gama Bomb take their inspiration from ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ to computer games to cannibalism and human sacrifice!! Still, they’ve released five prior albums, including being the first metal band to release a free record in “Tales From The Grave In Space”, were the runner up (to Immortal) in the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Award and have in their time toured with Sepultura, Exodus, Overkill, Forbidden, DRI, Onslaught, Artillery and Dark Funeral as well as playing at festivals like Tuska Open Air and Hellfest. Formed in 2002 by school friends Philly Byrne (vocals) and bassist Joe McGuigan, “Sea Savage” also sees a lyrical cameo from co-founder rhythm guitarist Luke Graham, who left the band in 2012, and the arrival of a new drummer in James Stewart (Vader, Decapitated), who adds his power and precision to the 12 energetic tracks here. Awash with classic thrash beats and catchy hooks along with buckets of tongue-in-cheek humour, this sixth album will have you grinning from the fun as you’re grimacing to the fearsome headbanging it will induce on tracks like the blinding ‘Miami Supercops’ and like Crockett & Tubbs, the razor-sharp riffs twist and turn with expertise as Stewart hammers in his beats while Philly Byrne’s insane wails and helium shrills deliver the coup de grâce to all the intensity. With Joe McGuigan adding his twanging basslines to the sharp riffs hitting ‘Lords Of The Hellfire Club’, the thrashola speedway resumes with plenty of band shout outs and crescendo highs from Byrne, along with a shredding solo from Domo Dixon, who incidentally produced this album, and has his axe screaming and wailing brilliantly in displaying his multi-faceted talents. Closing the conceptual ‘threequel’ to back catalogue classics ‘Steel Teeth’ and ‘Return To Blood Castle’ comes ‘Rusty Jaw’ that is definitive of this nautical-themed album of a band journeying in search of the Yeti, only to go mad on the high seas – well, you already knew that – and as Byrne’s falsettos start to go to your own mind amid the catchy, dancing thrash riffs of rhythm guitarist John Roche, Dixon comes speeding inonce again with a surprisingly melodic solo that provides an excellent contrast to Stewart’s galloping drumbeats. Recorded using analog ‘80s equipment and topped off by Graham Humphreys’ (“A Nightmare On Elm Street”, “Evil Dead”) cover art, you’ve got a fan-feckin-tastic release here that Snowy The Gamabombinable Snowman would be proud of!