Thrust – “Harvest Of Souls” (Pure Steel Records)
Continuing their resurrection, 80s heavy metal legends Thrust deliver another high octane US metal album par excellence! Formed in 1981, Thrust’s heaviness melded with quality soon saw the band opening for Motorhead, Michael Schenker, Twisted Sister and Slayer, resulting in their classic live debut EP “Solidarnosc Rock for Poland” in front of 10,000 metal maniacs! Soon signing to Metal Blade, they were featured on “Metal Massacre 4” and supported Judas Priest on their “Screaming For Vengeance” tour, culminating in the release of what has now become a cult classic “Fist Held High” 1984. Despite all this success, things went quiet and Thrust were forgotten in the metal mists of time until the arrival of the true metal movement, whereupon the band – in the form of original guitarist Ron Cooke – would return to even more glory as old heroes at festivals around the world! With such an interest, Cooke assembled a veteran line up to serve up the band’s legacy – but I have to say that “Harvest Of Souls” even had me surprised as to its sheer immensity! This album is loud, not just in terms of the searing classic 80s heavy / power metal that the band play but the actual volume with all the instruments cranked to the max – along with Eric Claro’s power larynx. I really didn’t expect the pounding brutality from these seasoned musicians who can clearly play but Cooke has found himself a buncha killers who can play it to the max right from the start to finish on this excellent album. Added to this are the incredible compositions, each and every one of them quality assured to the highest US metal standards to deliver molten metal, massive grooves and killer melodies that will have any headbanger in a frenzy. From the raw chugging guitars on ‘Immortal’, Claro’s incredible soul mixed with power soon hooks you in via a very catchy chorus while on the lengthier ‘Shadow Of The Cross’, which may start off slow enough, but when Cooke’s guitar rips in with a fiery solo, Claro’s operatic wails are backed by a powerful wall of steel before Angel Rodriguez brings in some wild, tremolo soloing! Simply crushing on ‘Blood King’ as Joe Rezendes explodes in double bass drumming mayhem, Claro once again steams in to bring a dark mood to the song superbly contrasted by Cooke and Rodriguez’s slightly more soulful (if still intense) soloing. Bringing all to a hammering end is ‘Possessed’ with its enormous kick drum and Ray Gervais massive gouging bass, but again resplendant with plenty of soul from Claro and yet another catchy chorus. I cannot contain my admiration of Ron Cooke for coming up with this incredible album, not only is it worthy of his band’s cult legacy, but more than able to bring him and the fans new found glory in the purest of (true) heavy metal.