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Outlaw Racer

Thrash, it seems, is back. I have waxed lyrical on many occasions on the quality of many of these new bands quite enough, but just now and then it is nice to hear a thrash album made by a band who do not have their tongues in their cheeks. Nitrous are a four piece outfit from that hotbed of thrash metal...erm...Estonia. I would have thought, perhaps ignorantly that most Estonians know as much about thrash as I know about...well, Estonia actually. Ignoring the blurb (which goes on a bit too much about them being “drag racing thrash metal” - which is just about the most ridiculous claim made for a new sub-genre I have ever read), this is quality stuff.

“Outlaw Racer” is a solid, enjoyable slab of prime thrashery. If it was a kitchen table it would be made of solid oak. If it was a sportsman, it would be a prop forward. In simple terms, Nitrous play good, chunky thrash that sounds like a collision between Metallica studio promo stuff spliced with classic Slayer, all sprinkled with a dash of Testament in their “Low” period. There's much to like here, especially for fans of King and Hanneman. “We Ride at Dawn”, for example, has it all, from the stabbing main riff to the atonal cat-on-a-skewer-whammy-bar-obsessed soloing. There are more deep, neck jarring grooves in this music than on a typical Fenland back road. That isn't a bad thing at all, indeed, it's nice to be sat reviewing and having my brain almost instantly click into “headbang” mode. What's more, the best thing is that I very quickly began humming the tune to many of these songs when the CD had long stopped spinning. I was lucky enough to be able to spend nineteen hours at work on Christmas day cleaning up after morons, throughout wish I was half-humming and half-singing the title track to this particular album.

So far, so good then. Unfortunately, this isn't just a case of song writing and good playing; there is always the production to consider. This is where things start to unravel a bit for Nitrous. I really enjoyed the guitar and bass work, and indeed the drums, while a little basic are none too shabby either. The overwhelming problem is that the production just sounds a little thin and anaemic when compared to their underground peers. This is a shame, and is probably a result of the rising quality of demo material these days. I haven't heard anything this cheap in many a month, even from most MySpace bands. It's a real testament to Nitrous that I still find this a good album in spite of such an unsubstantial job behind the knobs and sliders of the production desk. I can only wonder what kind of impact they may have once they get access to more cash. As it is, I hope one of these Johnny-come-lately bands have the chance to take Nitrous out onto the road to a wider audience. Nitrous deserve to be heard outside Estonia.

Author: Chris Davison

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