Whiplash
Unborn Again

Did you know that New Jersey’s Whiplash formed in 1984 and went on to release a handful of albums during thrash’s heyday in the 80s and a few during thrash’s mere existence in the deep underground during the 90s? I did, and that’s about all I knew. One of a slew of lesser known, but still relevant, bands to ride the decade’s thrash wave, Whiplash slipped underneath my radar and as a result I don’t recall hearing any of the tunes penned. The name began coming up more in more during the retro thrash resurgence of the last couple of years though, which piqued my interest, but still never resulted in my hunting down one of the “recommended” releases.

So now 2009 rolls around and we get the first album of new Whiplash material since 1998’s Thrashback. It is called Unborn Again and I freakin’ love it, so much so that it will be a contender for my year-end list – if not a top 10 selection, then easily a top 20. And here’s the part that may surprise you, unless you’re a Whiplash devotee: Unborn Again is not a pure thrash metal album! It is an exceedingly well written, rip roaring collection of songs that draw influences from the world of traditional heavy metal and blues-based hard rock, as well as thrash metal, and there isn’t a bum track in the bunch.

Above all else, Unborn Again is an album that sticks with the basics of guitar, bass, drums, and vocals to grand effect. The riffs are fantastic, the album sounds like a band playing live in the studio, the grooves are big, and the songs are memorable. On the purely thrash end of the spectrum, you are treated to all out ball breakers like “Float Face Down,” “Feeding Frenzy,” and “Pitbulls in the Playground” (featuring a riff that could have appeared on Kill ‘Em All). From there, things become more varied in scope. On “Swallow the Slaughter” and “Snuff” – the latter a great song with a backing vocal line that sinks deep into the psyche – the style is as much trad-metal as thrash. Then you’ve the groovy muscularity and bluesy hard rock swagger of “Firewater” (complete with a Native American chant intro) and the Mountain-esque “Hook in Mouth,” not to mention a stuttering rocker called “Fight or Flight” that features a riff that rides the “Immigrant Song” edge. The album rounds out with rock solid instrumental “Parade of Two Legs” and a fire-breathing rendition of Montrose’s “I Got the Fire” that gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.

All wrapped up in the kind of Jersey blue collar vibe one hears from Overkill, Unborn Again is an album without flaw. It just feels like a classic. Guess I better get searching the back catalogcatalogue. Highly recommended for anyone with good taste.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Scott Alisoglu
September 25th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Tibor

    I’ll have to check this one out. I was not aware they were writing a new album. I’m sure you’ve been told already, but check out “Power and Pain” and “Ticket to Mayhem ASAP. Both total thrash classice IMO.


  2. Commented by: Scott Alisoglu

    They’re on my list when I get some discretionary spending money…whenever that may be :-)


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