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San Jose's Kill Ritual haven't been around long yet, and are kind of a supergroup of thrash metal veterans, albeit from slightly lesser-known bands, but they've wasted no time getting their debut album ready for consumption just two short years after they formed. The Serpentine Ritual musically recalls early Testament (particularly the opening title track and The Day The World Dies) or early Anthrax (Old School Thrasher, Time To Kill), but with the addition of Bay Area local Josh Gibson's melodic, high vocals the likes of Helstar and Vicious Rumors are also brought readily to mind. The histories of the members involved indicate exactly why that sound has been sought for Kill Ritual. Guitarist Steve Rice and drummer Wayne DeVecchi were together in melodic thrashers Imagika until they disbanded in 2010, while guitarist Roberto Proietti used to ply his trade in heavy power metal outfit Eldritch, and bassist Danyael Williams comes from the 2002-2005 reunion line-up of thrash legends Dark Angel. Apart from one track, Ambush, where the vocals sound so completely different it's difficult to find anything in them identifying the voice as Gibson, showing his remarkable versatility, the single focus of the album is speed and both wailing vocals and solos. In fact, it's a very solo-heavy album covering everything from Malmsteen-esque widdling to more measured Skolknick-style stuff. Aside from the perfectly sharp mix courtesy of Andy LaRocque, the band are clearly content to align themselves to the somewhat-dying true classic thrash sound, making The Serpentine Ritual is one of the purest thrash albums to come out in 2012.
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