Author: Larry Best
(Candlelight Records, 2015)
#FOR FANS OF: Black/Thrash, Dark Angels, Sadus
What's this? Bio-Cancer? A biohazard symbol in the logo? Artwork by Ed Repka depicting a chained up mutated humanoid? We know what we're all thinking - and in some ways, you're right to think pessimistically. However, if you begin to write these Greek speedsters off as another pseudo-crossover failure like Fueled By Fire or Thrash or Die(*shudder*!), then you are missing out on some incredibly tight and entertaining genuine thrash metal, written for the 21st century audience. 'Entertaining' really is the key word here. Bio-Cancer seem to fill every nook and cranny of their sound with subtle compositional devices which make a huge difference to the overall effect. A bass lick here, a drum fill there - it all adds up to a unique and memorable experience (the 0:53 mark in opening track "Obligated To Incest", Lefteris' primal grunt, is a prime example). Speaking of vocalist Lefteris; he puts on one hell of a performance here. Completely balls-to-the-wall insane shrieks and a vitriolic lyrical delivery are the norm for this madman. His supporting cast are also en point throughout "Tormenting The Innocent". Original riffage, tuneful solos, a range of dynamics, and most importantly, a variation in pace. This is best exemplified in the middle section of "F(r)iends or Fiends" where the rhythm section truly prove that they can hold their audience's interest without the need for a simplistic verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure. Think Mastery, but with a seriously impressive vocalist at the helm. The production quality is stellar: the guitars and bass work together as one well-oiled machine, Tomek's blast-beats are always highlighted superbly and the gang-shouts become an integral part of the compositions due to the gravitas given to them. In fact, if there's any fault with this album at all, it's that Lefteris' English pronunciation is far from accurate, but that just adds to the mad hilarity of this release! Who gives a shit about lyrics anyway? "Tormenting The Innocent" flows with surprising fluidity; each track leading to the next with an almost narrative through-line - climaxing on the one-two deathlike punch of"Haters Gonna...Suffer!" and "Life Is Tough (So Am I)". The songs all have something that will make you want to come back and hear it again and again. Be it the mesmerizing melodic middle-eight of "Boxed Out" or the relentless chanting of "Think!", you'll find yourself becoming enthralled by a detail you missed on previous listens. It's clear that these Greeks have placed themselves on a plinth of thrash metal godliness. Along with the Finns in Lost Society and the more established Brits in Evile, let us hope their toxicity develops and infects us all!