Sound: The name 'Onslaught' rings in the ears of true thrash fans as the UK band that gave us The Force in 1986. Sadly, once they signed to London Records in 1988 - and lost their vocalist - things started to get shakey. Following continuing problems after the release of 1989's In Search of Sanity album, the band decided to fold in 1991. Yet in 2005, they decided it was time to give it another go and 2007's Killing Peace is the result of a 16 year hiatus. This album, in my opinion, was the most incredible album released during 2007 - the band haven't lost their flair after their hiatus and they've come back all guns blazing. Opening track Burn is full of pummelling riffs and with it's catchy as hell chorus, it leaves you wanting for more. The title track, opening up with Sy Keeler's psychotic scream of 'Spitting Blood In the Face of God', is one of the highlights of the entire record - fast, heavy, catchy, absolutely colossal. The insanity doesn't let up for a second, Nige Rockett and Alan Jordan's fiery riffs and leads continuously raping your ears with some of the finest thrash this decade. The production - by one Mr. Andy Sneap - is spot on, giving the record a modern sound without sounding TOO modern for it's own good. The guitar tone is, quite simply, f--king heavy. Everything is damn near perfect, and Sy Keeler's vocal work on here is at the absolute top of the thrash pile. His insane rant during DSestroyer of the Worlds and the impossibly high notes he hits throught the record make him a rather fearsome frontman to say the least! In terms of tone, production, execution and songwriting, this album is the best 2007 has to offer you. it's quite simply astonishing how this band has come back with such ferocious intensity. // 10
Lyrics: The one thing people really disliked about In Search of Sanity was the fact that Sy Keeler had been replaced by Steve Grimmett of Grim Reaper fame. Whilst he's a very good vocalist, Sy Keeler IS Onslaught - he's key to their entire sound. His performance on Killing Peace completely surpasses his work on The Force, hitting the high notes whilst still retaining a deadly low end growl. Lyrically, the songs deal with your average thrash topics (religion, war, death, etc.) yet the lyrics themselves are masterfully crafted. Vocal melodies (yes, there's melody! ) are brilliant, and Sy's insane rant in the middle of Destroyer of the Worlds leaves a lot of other vocalists biting dust. The infamous opening refrain to Killing Peace, the chorus to Burn, and pretty much all of Twisted Jesus stick in the mind in particular, but the entire album is full of interesting lyrical content in one way or another. Christians may want to stay away! The ONLY thing that prevents the lyrics getting a full mark is the slightly generic topics they have, and the fact that there's a lot of swearing which kind of makes some of the songs a little less interesting. // 9
Overall Impression: I did a review of The Blackening when it came out last year, claiming it to be the best metal album ever and so on. I was a little excited over the fact that I had a new Machine Head record and almost none of the statements I made there are true - here however, I can safely say that no thrash album the past decade stands up to Killing Peace. United Abominations? Sod off. Enter the Grave? Not quite. The Formation of Damnation? Nope. The fact is, that Onslaught are back and they've given us an album that will appeal to all metal fans old and new, with a recognisable yet different approach to their thrashing insanity. The only reason this doesn't get a full score is because, as I mentioned already, some lyrics may be offputting to some. Another rather petty complaint is that the album is only 9 tracks long and when it's this good, that's simply not enough. All the same, Killing Peace is a blistering example of modern thrash and it sets the bar for everything that follows. Not banging your head? You have no head!
The Japanese version of the album contains a re-recording of 'Power from Hell' as a bonus track. // 10