London thrashers, Inhuman Nature, are a band with momentum. Formed in 2017, they caught the attention of Church Road Records last year after their self-titled LP from 2019 and a split record with Road Mutant put them on the underground map. Now they have a new EP, and we have every right to be excited if Under the Boot is a taste of what’s to come in the future. This is crossover thrash played in the spirit of Power Trip and dipped in the fire of late 80s Kreator.
The first thing that strikes you about Inhuman Nature is how their gnarly thrash sound overpowers their NWOBHM tendencies. Opener, ‘City of the Dead’, leans more towards the thrash crossover revival brewing in America but starts with a surprise Queensrӱche passage of mystical guitar picking. The first thirty seconds of slow lead phrasing will leave you biting your bottom lip. Is this prog metal? The carnage they unleash at 01:45 seconds gives you the answer you need when Simon Grubb switches his drum patterns to d-beats and the dual guitar attack of Ben Taylor and Mack Stray pivots towards the alternate crunch of the bottom strings. No, it’s not prog, but it’s fast and fuming and bloodthirsty.
Vocalist, Chris Barling, can take credit for the exaggerated malevolence inherent in the music. Like the thrash revivalists of the mid 2000s, you never know if the quintet are being serious or not, but you can’t argue with the adrenaline or the dynamics. This is thrash metal in the mould of Shrapnel. ‘Under the Boot’ throbs with the gratification of a misanthrope who unleashes a toxic pollutant into the atmosphere. It’s raw and unforgiving, and it thrives on a punk-infused bridge with gang vocals just when they’re threatening to jump into a death-thrash rabbit hole. Close your eyes, and you can even hear Megadeth circa 1988.
‘Ride the Apocalypse’ is a fine way to end the EP, and it also reminds you that you don’t need eight-string guitars and monstrous tunings to produce heavy music. Listen to the expert riffing at the beginning – is this not Slayer in the mid-1990s but with a crossover aesthetic? This could also be Inhuman Nature’s future conundrum – they’re not a hardcore band plagiarising the guitar techniques of thrash, but they’re not just a ravenous thrash band incorporating D.R.I., either. Finding an equilibrium between the two without encroaching on death metal territory should give them something to ponder in the studio for album number two.
Under the Boot is a mean-spirited charge through the wastelands of metallic hardcore and the stadium perspiration of the legendary Clash of the Titans tour of 1990. It gives you a glimpse of two worlds and lets you decide which one you want to inhabit.
Release Date: 11/02/2022
Record Label: Church Road Records
Standout track: City of the Dead
Suggested Further Listening: The Third Kind – Man vs Earth (2020), Kreator – Coma of Souls (1990), Enforced – Kill Grid (2021)