Top 7 Influences: Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane

Norwich thrash sensations, Shrapnel, released one of the fiercest metal albums of the year in May with the excellent Palace For The Insane. It also cemented their place in the ‘Brit Four’ of thrash metal alongside Xentrix, Evile and Sylosis.

Like their American counterparts, Havok, these boys know how to write a chorus as well as shred their guitars. As a shoo-in for the album of the year shortlist, Scream Blast Repeat caught up with lead guitarist, Nathan Sadd, for a rundown on the seven albums that influenced the making of the band’s latest record.

As you can imagine, Nathan lives and breathes the spirit of thrash metal…

7. Sodom – In War And Pieces (2010)

I’d say this was one of our new singer/bassist Aarran’s favourite and most influential albums. We’re pretty massive Sodom fans in general, but I think IWAP was a big one for Aarran. You can certainly hear a lot of Tom Angelripper in his voice and delivery. Modern Sodom records were really great for melding super blackened-thrash aggression with really melodic hooks. We got to meet the guys behind most of the modern stuff, recently, when we went to the Bonded release party over in Dortmund and learned a lot. It was great fun. Haha!

6. Deftones – Deftones (2003)

Deftones are one of my very favourite bands of all time. The self-titled doesn’t get enough love. ‘Bloody Cape’ and ‘Hexagram’ are just absolutely savage and crushing songs. Deftones have influenced the subtlety of my playing over the years. I also love the melodic side of them throughout their discography in songs like ‘Minerva,’ ‘Be Quite And Drive,’ ‘Passenger’ and ‘Hole In The Sky’.  Clearly, we’re a thrash band, so the influence is not immediately obvious. But we have songs like ‘Begin Again’ and ‘Pariah’ (from Raised On Decay) that pay homage to Stephen Carpenter’s playing. Deftones are really great at building tension in their songs and playing with light and dark. We took a lot from them, as well as bands like Alice In Chains throughout the writing process of songs like ‘Begin Again’.

5. Sepultura – Chaos AD (1993)

Chaos is by no means my favourite Sepultura album. It is, however, a monumentally massive sounding record. I was spinning it quite a bit during the writing period for our new album. I love the first half of the record, especially. It has a direct simplicity and aggression, something I was trying to draw on for songs like ‘Salt The Earth’ and ‘Violent’. Like Coroner’s Grin album, I love the memorable and repetitive chugging of a lot of the riffs. ‘Propaganda’ and ‘Slave New World’ are just sledgehammers, and we were looking for some of that stripped back simplicity on our new stuff.

4. Slayer – Reign In Blood (1986)

This is another permeating influence throughout everything we do. Hanneman’s guitar style was probably the most influential thing for me in all of heavy metal. Stuff like ‘The Mace’ and ‘Violent Now, Forever’ are clearly Slayer-inspired! In my opinion, it’s the greatest thrash record of all time (sorry Rust In Peace!). I remember the first time I saw Hanneman playing (it was a live video for ‘War Ensemble’ back in 2000/01, I think). It just blew my mind to see this guy hammering his guitar to death. I was hooked immediately. Overtime, RIB has become (arguably) my favourite Slayer album purely because of its relentless aggression. It’s perfect.

3. Megadeth – Rust In Peace (1990)

I think everyone in the band would agree that Rust is a permanent influence for us. I take a lot from it in terms of Friedman’s shredding (the first track on the album, ‘Might Of Cygnus’, has a really Friedman-inspired shred). I think you can hear Megadeth influences through the album. It’s one of those records that we all love for different reasons. I doubt there are many thrash bands out there that aren’t at least tacitly influenced by Rust In Peace. It’s an incredible record, and we still listen to it a lot when we’re hanging out.

2. Judas Priest – Firepower (2018)

For the exact same reason as our number one choice (see below)! A lot of the early demos for the album were really influenced by traditional heavy metal and had a lot of that feel to them. Simply because we were hanging out a lot and having beers to albums like this and the latest Saxon! The first ‘draft’ of the album was really mid-paced and stomping, and we actually had to revise it a lot because it needed a bit more speed. I think we kept a lot of the catchiness we were striving for that albums like Firepower are drenched in. Every song on this record was a belter, which is incredible for a band fifty years in. We wanted some really big anthems on the album, so I think we took a lot from Firepower in that sense.

1. Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct (2016)

It might not seem like an obvious influence out of the Metallica discography. Obviously, all of their albums are an influence in one way or another, but the newest record was really important for us a few years ago. This is the album that put me back in contact with our old drummer and friend Chris Williams. There are a few direct influences on ‘Vultures Circle’, for example, but it was more influential in terms of being an album we were listening to a lot leading up to writing Palace, reconnecting, and catching up with each other. It kinda set the tone of the start of the album production, and we look back on it fondly. It was also interesting that we started with Chris shortly after Death Magnetic came out in 2008/09 and reconnected over this one.

*** Shrapnel released their latest album, Palace For The Insane, on 26 May 2020 via Candlelight/ Spinefarm Records. Read the Scream Blast Repeat review here. ***