Gama Bomb – “Speed Between The Lines” (AFM Records)
Well, judging by the sheer number of falsetto screams on this 6th album from these Irish thrashers – vocalist Philly Byrne is well and truly back with a vengeance! After suffering a vocal injury while on tour in 2012, Byrne underwent surgery and years of rehabilitation – but now, after intensive training under one of London’s best opera coaches, Byrne’s vocals have returned to their shrieking best and it’s pretty clear from the hungry performances on “Speed Between The Lines”. Matching any of the 80s thrash bands in speed, what sets these nice Irish lads apart from their aggressive and hateful peers is their take on the world, jovial at times although not always, covering issues such as global warming and racism. However, when it comes to music, it looks like their studiousness is second to none with amazing rhyming lyrics and most of all, ultra catchy songs that clearly evidence the best in choice riffs, electric thrash beats and superb arrangements. I guarantee anyone – thrasher or not – to resist the lure of these massive hooks, catchy melodies, superb arrangements and Byrne’s own quirky vocals as they deliver consistently across the 12 excellent tracks here. Blasting out on opener ‘Give Me Leather’, Byrne clearly wants to impress Halford (along with Justin Hawkins) with his crescendo wailing while the fast skating guitars of Domo Dixon and John Roche race in reckless abandon through furious riffola while machine gunning catchy licks and neck ripping solos all to a hugely catchy singalong chorus. Even more intense is ‘666teen’ telling the story of just about every headbanger through viciously catchy rhyming lyrics, Paul Caffrey’s relentless drum rolls and even more blistering guitar from Domo and Roche – awesome!!! If you’re not splitting your sweaty sides by now, then prepare for the ultimate man tribute in the hilarious ‘Kurt Russell’ with its chopping brutality courtesy of co founder Joe McGuigan’s twanging bass along with immortal lines like ‘…you’ll be Tango, I’ll be Cash, drinking cider, smoking hash…’ – simply unmissable ha ha! If you buy only 1 thrash album this year, make it this one.