by Keith Carman
Yet again, Canada is one of thrash metal’s most fertile grounds yet completely overlooked on an international level. Case in point: Ottawa’s guttural, pounding trio Joe Thrasher. Kicking around for seven years, they’ve been all but ignored while other acts garner seemingly-immediate praise. Still, even if it’s a bit of a pisser, it has resulted in enough overt anger to ensure their uncompromising thrash is bitter, pointed and furious, delivered with a surprising composedness and patience.
Overall, Metal Forces‘ nine tracks feel virtually timeless thanks to an all-encompassing attack that unites some of the genre’s most definitive elements from occasional Painkiller-era Rob Halford/Overkill’s Bobby Blitz’s alto shriek coupled with a distinctive Steve “Zetro” Sousa rasp to amazing chug riffs and plenty of dynamic tempo shifts.
In terms of foundation however, the band adheres solidly to thrash metal’s earliest incarnation with songs having an overall spirit akin to Kill ‘Em All’s overt punk attitude, Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good‘s unyielding pace and that unrefined bleakness Slayer presented when they were young and enthusiastic but trying to look tough. The end result is a raw, almost desperate affair brimming with stellar riffs, engaging caterwauls and an adrenaline-pumping pace virtually absent since thrash’s formative years.