Breed – History of Tomorrow


German quintet, Breed, make no secret of their reason for existing – they love old-school Bay Area thrash. Guitarists, Maik Ramroth and Sascha Rink, are veterans of the Lower Saxony scene as six-stringers in death metal force, Sudden Death. As musicians that lived through the thrash explosion of the 1980s, these Teutonic knights know their way around a fretboard, but is the audience for their music a nostalgic one?

The reverse mushroom cloud effect in the intro to opener, ‘In Your Face’, lives up to the promise of its title. A simple head-banging attack stays in second gear for a good thirty seconds to allow the riffs to warm up and to prepare the way for vocalist, Vincent Alberti, to enter like a facetious prophet deriding the optimism of the future. You’ll find it easy to jump onboard with the momentum. The two axemen rip into their guitar necks as if trying to use them as self-defence weapons. There’s no danger of quantised drums in this type of music. Death Angel are a good reference point for the crunch and tempo here.

A bomber jacket, Reebok Pump sneakers, and blue denim jeans are necessary to get into the spirit of ‘Of Hope and Despair’. This applies to most cuts on this album. Here, a secretive intro of dissonant chord-picking and slithering bass notes weaves its way to a laser gun rhythm of lethal guitars. Alberti sounds like a baritone parodying a shock-rock tenor in the higher parts. The verse-bridge-chorus structure is just as obvious as an Anthrax effort circa State of Euphoria. That’s the problem, and it rears its head early in the listening journey. In their quest to emulate their heroes, Breed invest little time in their own identity.

The sceptic in you will read a song title like ‘Refuse Reality’ and say, “Give me ‘Refuse/Resist’ by Sepultura rather than five minutes of competent but standard thrash.” There’s nothing objectionable about this music, but there’s nothing current about it, either.  It’s hard to justify the last minute of this song with one more rendition of the snarling chorus. Likewise, the Metallica binge at the beginning of ‘Dimension Downside’ aims to capture their overindulgent but delicious start-stop riffing from …And Justice for All. It works, but you’ve heard it before, like a classic magic trick that loses its appeal after multiple performances with no change of routine.

Often, Alberti’s voice resembles a wrestler who has his opponent on his back after a heroic manoeuvre. That’s a good thing. His vituperative crazed-smile vocals will remind you of ex-Venom/Atomkraft frontman, Tony ‘Demolition Man’ Dolan. So, what is it that makes this album a breeze rather than a stomping bruise? It doesn’t help that the music seems stuck in 1990. A punk bass thread guides the way for the guitars to add their steel to ‘Pro Evolution Sucker’, but your pulse stays steady throughout. Where is the adrenaline?

Breed play the upbeat thrash of the genre’s third wave era when the major labels purged them of their radio-unfriendly Venom and Motörhead influences. That will prove divisive if you’re a lover of thrash metal. The highlights of this record are the playful tease of the main riff and jigsaw approach to bringing all the instruments together in ‘Better Hater’. Slayer are masters of this on their early records. Here, guitar rhythms gush like collapsing dams. A stadium crowd of thrash maniacs would enjoy this theatrical stomp. You can feel the good vibrations spill over into the intoxicating rush of violence beloved of a hooligan mob. Aaaaargh!

Leaving the title-track to last suggests it’s one of the band’s favourites, but it fails to achieve its objective if they want this song to be their surprise weapon. The rapid pentatonic embroidery in the middle-eight is straight from the hand of Hetfield. It’s the type of content a teenage prodigy could licence on YouTube as music for a streaming platform that has no money to pay for the more famous stuff.

Breed enjoy their craft, but their strengths might be suited to the stage rather than the studio. They deliver competent and lively thrash metal that leaves little imprint on your mind.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 15/12/2023

Record Label: Doc Gator Records

Standout tracks: In Your Face, Of Hope and Despair, Better Hater

Suggested Further Listening: Angelus Apatrida – Aftermath (2023), Anthrax – State of Euphoria (1988), Harlott – Detritus of the Final Age (2020)