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Python - 2004 Good And Evil

Joe Holzapfel - vocals, guitar
Geoff Allen - guitar
Ken Decker - bass
Kurt Holzapfel - drums

Recently signed to Chavis Records in August of 2005, things appear to be looking up for this New York based thrash outfit, whose mantra of 'keeping thrash alive' happens to be refreshingly honest. Founded by the Holzapfel brothers Kurt and Joe in 2001, the band was joined by Decker in 2003 and Allen in March of 2005. This six track debut was recorded in 2004 and the band have apparently recorded a slew of new tracks which sadly were not passed on to me. Produced by Kol Marshall, who according to the band has been associated with the likes of King Diamond and Ministry, this album gives new meaning to the term old school. With a rough thrash sound reminiscent of the mid to late 80's, this is as basic and pure as thrash gets. It's compelling in its own right, the band quite deserving of their contract with Chavis, showing some remarkable awareness of how to handle brutal riff based thrash without sounding dated despite the throwback sound.

The Songs
Right at the onset of the title track I can't help but compare the bands sound to the 80's Euro thrash scene, cue the likes of Artillery, Sodom and Destruction. It's more rooted in that particular frame than what was happening in the US, although Overkill and Forbidden could be thrown into the mix too. Joe Holzapfel's vocals are traditional thrash based, with none of the tired death metal growling that tarnishes most current acts. The riffs are straight from the gutter, crude and intentionally so, fooling me almost into believing this is 1985! The speed levels when called upon are impressive, and the riffing when at its heaviest as in 'Complex Mind' is convincing, proving these guys know what they're doing. The actual instances of thrash are not often, 'Fallen Angel' flirting with pure speed, but overall the emphasis appears to be on complex structures and harmonies. 'Cursed' is a mighty wall of noise, the riffs combining well together but again I'd like to hear some faster rhythms, as realistically that's what thrash is supposed to represent. The band have the attitude and sound to make it work and from what I understand the follow up demos from 2005 are superior to this album and it would be interesting to see how Python have developed.

In Summary
For once I am actually anticipating the progress of a band. How Python develop with Chavis Records backing them is a proposition worth keeping an eye on. I always have a taste for thrash and Python have whetted my appetite. What makes this debut a success is the understanding Python have of what vintage thrash is supposed to be. There are no nods to anything out there that involve trends, just keeping faith with the pioneers of thrash. Personally I hear none of the Testament influences that others have claimed, instead more related to the US metal acts who copied the Europeans than anything. Those who threw in Metallica comparisons are not listening to the same album I am. Excellent for starters, hopefully more will be seen of Python and they won't fade away like so many before them.

Sponsor: Python

Track Listing:
01 Good & Evil
02 Complex Mind
03 Un-Holy
04 Fallen Angel
05 Crucifixion
06 Cursed


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