Meatshank- Scavengers

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Friday, June 22, 2012

Thrash is a genre that is hard to screw up, but it is even harder to do in a way that stands out. Listening to the newest album from Kansas City’s Meatshank, Scavengers, this was the first thought that came to mind. The instrumentalists and vocalists definitely have the thrash basics down and are competent musicians, but there isn’t enough that truly makes Scavengers distinguishable from the other bands vying for the attention of metal fans everywhere.

Meatshank definitely has the feel of a thrash album down, as their songs contain the fast paced riffs and softer interludes that have become staples of the style for quite some time. Rather than drawing things out with lengthy solos or verses the group keeps things simple and to the point, offering songs that range from two and a half to three minutes long. This decision works for and against them, as while it does prevent any one riff from becoming too repetitive it isn’t until the later songs that the instrumentalists start to make some progress towards some ideas that stand out and by that point the album is almost over. It’s a bit of a shame, because the guitarists seem like they are capable musicians but due to the fact that they stick too closely to the tried and true thrash elements Scavengers doesn’t truly leave its mark on the listener.

The group’s lead singer has a vocal style that is a cross between screaming and growling, but it is enunciated so that all of the lyrical content is easy to make out. In many ways this type of screaming reminds me a bit more of crossover than pure thrash, and while I have always found that it tends to be a love or hate style it does work well within the context of Meatshank’s music. On a few of the songs the backing vocals kick in and provide a lower growl that is closer to death metal, and this gave the second half of the album a bit more variety and made a big difference. I actually would like to see the band move between these two styles a bit more, as the interplay between them provides some enjoyable moments.

Don’t get me wrong, there is potential showcased on Scavengers that Meatshank could build on in order to become a killer band. But right now they are at a point where the material doesn’t stand out from the numerous other thrash acts, and the moments that do come a little too late in the album. I’ll give them another show when another release is available, but for now these guys have a bit more growing to do.

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