Head On Collision
Ritual Sacrifice

And so the thrash resurgence/revival marches on. This time I have before me the debut full-length from Head On Collision (HOC). I first discovered the band while tooling around Myspace (hey, it really can be awesome sometimes right?) 2-3 years ago, looking for some fresh thrash. Not only did the band impress me, but they were no more than a 2 hour drive away from me, based in St. Louis, MO. Awesome – home state thrash!

As most of you are fully aware by now, none of these new thrash bands are really trying to reinvent the wheel or doing anything different than the bands of the eighties, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Personally, I feel that the majority of them are representing the sound as well as any of the old bands still churning it out – some are better than others obviously, but I have yet to truly hear any that make me cringe or yell “disgrace!” But while most of these bands are digging deeply into the Bay Area sound, HOC seem to draw most of their influence from the Germanic scene, namely Sodom and Kreator, but not without a dash or two of Slayer.

What you won’t find here is any frilly, ballady shit. Instead, HOC stay true to their name and deliver head smashing tune one after another. From instrumental opener “Arise from the Wreckage” to the album closing title track, the punishment rarely varies. Tempos range from an upper mid-pace to all out, balls to the wall speed. You’d be hard pressed to throw a rock and not hit a riff that instantly induces headbanging. They can lock into a solid groove, or just shred it out all the same. The solos, while not spectacular, serve their purpose and rip flesh. Production wise, it’s clear but not without a little grit and dirt, courtesy of guitarist/vocalist Pat McCauley, drummer Jason Brooks, Bill Stace and Damon Swally.

By now, I’d have to imagine that all but the die-hard thrashers are asking themselves, “Do I really need another thrash album that sounds like it was made in 1988?” Probably not, but I promise you that HOC are standing among the best the movement has given us yet. If you like good thrash on any level, give Ritual Sacrifice a shot – it’s worth your dollars.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
November 9th, 2008


  1. Commented by: Dirty Donald

    This album is awesome!

  2. Commented by: ceno

    Good job, Larry! Just got round to reading this review and it sounds very promissing. I like the newer wave of old school thrash outfits. They probably do nothing new but given the modern production values their albums often sound even better than the 80’s thrash masterpieces. Besides, the bands like Evile, Headshot and Hyades offer excellent song material.

  3. Commented by: Larry "Staylow" Owens

    Thanks Ceno! If you dig on those bands, you should definitely hear HOC. And I agree with you for the most part on the new thrash bands, but I’m quickly finding out that I’m getting burnt on it because there are a shit ton of bands coming out doing it. Though I haven’t tired of Hatchet, Hyades and Head On Collision yet. Guillotine is pretty bad ass too.

  4. Commented by: Rick

    Just got this album yesterday. All I can say is INTENSE. I read an interview with this band earlier today saying they weren’t happy with the result of this release. I think it’s great, but if they think they can do better, go for it! Waiting for album 2!

    Great review, although I don’t think reviewers should give in to the peer pressure of other critics and their opinions of thrash. Thrash Metal has more than gain it’s spot in metal. Not everything has to be progressive, does it?

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