Chicago heavy metallers Lethal Shöck dropped their debut record back in July on the excellent Witches Brew label, and they are a band for whom the early 80s didn’t evolve into the heavy metal world we know today. They are firmly lodged back with the likes of classic Venom and Exciter, and ‘Evil Aggressor’ is a half hour blast of heady speed metal glory.
First, we need to address that album cover. A demon guitarist shooting electric bolts at a poor victim from his axe, while a church burns in the background? Holy shit, that’s metal as fuck. Opener ‘Sulfur Heart’ reinforces that feeling, with a big build up intro straight into classic speed metal riffing. A cocktail of Motorhead and Venom guitar gallop, with a spike and leather clad gravelly vocal performance which induces the burning desire to bang heads and destroy pits. The rabid ‘Atomik Obedience’ and short sharp shock of ‘I Am Your Hero’ are reminscient of the neon punk thrash that Municipal Waste sought to emulate a few years back, but Lethal Shöck are grimier and rawer.
For the traditionalist, there is the galloping verse riffs and glorious solos of ‘Endless Midnight’; fans of the rawer approach will take heart in the raspy vocals and the sick guitar tone. ‘Evil Aggressor’ is a shot in the arm to those who think that since Lemmy died that heavy metal is dying. This carries on the great man’s legacy, and while never matching his penchant for rock and roll, Lethal Shöck’s love of classic speed and heavy metal shines through. Songs like the rousing ‘Iron Fisted Assault’ and the thrashing ‘Up the Voltage’ are bursting with energy and vigour. Never mind stoking the fires of metal, ‘Evil Aggressor’ pours petrol on it and laughs as the world burns!