Artist: Division Speed
Album: Division Speed
Label: High Roller Records
Division Speed is not going to waste your time. The first track “Panzerkommando” opens with a killer speed-induced riff that instantly rings true of the album cover—a hell of war, seen from above by a pilot waiting for incoming death. Within moments, the song and eventually album erupt into a thrashing hell to accompany that initial feeling of the calm before the storm. Punctuated only by historical recordings and two instrumental interludes, the album is a speed frenzy that doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to dead air.
Every moment is packed to the brim with active thrashing and thrusting speed metal riffs. There is a refusal to compromise that one can hear within the sounds—given the way it’s produced it feels like it would not sound out of place against a sky of artillery fire. This is emphasized by the barked vocals of Hunter, who with some reverb and a powerful shout comes across like a cross between a warning siren and a drill sergeant. In terms of theming, this album has it down pat.
In terms of riffing, Division Speed draw heavily from thrash metal, speed metal, and even traditional metal. These are mixed quite well into the atmosphere, which ends up somewhere in between Speedwolf and Sodom.
But beyond that, it is clear compositionally that Division Speed understand what makes good thrash. Division Speed does not spend a lot of time trying to esoteric, atmospheric, or superficially deep—it is pure, unadulterated thrash made for the thrash fan. This is an incredibly hard album to review because it makes sense with two or three listens, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be fussed over. For those people who will get it and enjoy it, it will make sense very quickly. We can struggle to find meaning in it or whether or not war is futile, but in reality the only truth Division Speed wants to promote is that of pure adrenaline and of death-defying feats of humanity through their music.
It would be far too assuming to immediately refer to this as a classic, without flaw, or the best album in five years. What Division Speed does represent is something very powerful, something that is clearly made for those who would appreciate it. I would absolutely invite even those with a cursory interest in speed and thrash metal to look into this—even just a track is worth your time.