The Outer Limits, "Apocalypto" (2017) Album Review
The Outer Limits - "Apocalypto" (2017)
Style: Thrash Metal
Release: Stormspell Records, 2017
The retro-thrash revival which started taking the underground metal scene by storm in the early '00s is still going strong. Buoyed by the underground success of bands like Municipal Waste, Vindicator, Havok, Warbringer, and Hatchet, new combos continue to pop up across the globe, keeping the thrash flame burning for those who still wanna party like it's 1989.
The Outer Limits are the newest contenders for the mosh-it-up throne to cross my desk, and they've certainly traveled quite a distance to get here -- all the way from far-flung Bourgas, Bulgaria. I have yet to determine if the band's moniker is inspired by the title of the classic sci-fi TV show, or the 1993 Voivod album by the same name. Whatever their inspiration, The Outer Limits have just released their second album, Apocalypto, via Stormspell Records, and it's a suitably punishing slab that will satisfy anyone with a jones for some authentic late '80s thrash mayhem.
The cool thing about The Outer Limits - at least to an old goat like me - is that they're not some wet-behind-the-ears kids who've just recently discovered thrash metal via their parents' stash of vintage cassettes. This quintet is a seasoned group of veteran musicians who've been kicking around Bulgaria's underground metal scene since the glory days of the late 1980s. In other words, these guys lived through the classic thrash metal boom, therefore they know exactly how it should be played. On Apocalypto, these guys definitely deliver the pit-friendly goods. When you press "play" on this disc you'll be instantly transported back to the days when thrash was king, and hordes of shaggy haired heshers in black jeans, high-top sneakers and patch-covered denim vests packed into scuzzy concert halls every Saturday night to beat each other senseless to the sounds of whichever carcinogenic musical combo happened to be in town. It truly was a great time to be alive, kids!
"Greater Than God"
Apocalypto instantly detonates on the opening track "Outlive the Death." Guitarists "Jelyo" and "Dancho" deal out big slabs of chunky riffing and high-speed soloing which combines with the cannon-fire drumming of Dave (yes, just "Dave") to form a solid backdrop for Georgy Peychev's vocals. Georgy's not a growler or a screamer (thank goodness - in my book, far too many "modern" thrash bands employ such vocal styles), he's got a strong, authoritative snarl in the vein of Anthrax's Joey Belladonna, Hirax's Katon DePena, and especially Forbidden's Russ Anderson. His vocals ride over the top of his bandmates' musical mayhem like a general leading the charge.
The band's reverence for old school thrash in all of its forms is evident throughout Apocalypto, with a particular affection for the classic Bay Area scene (ala Exodus, Forbidden, Testament, Death Angel, etc.) -- though hints of East Coast (Overkill, Anthrax) and German/European influences sneak through now and again as well. "Thrashing Maniacs" is a straight up Exodus-style shout-out from the band to their mosh-crazy fan base ala the classic "Toxic Waltz," but it features a mid-song bass guitar breakdown that is pure D.D. Verni of Overkill. The title track kicks off with guitar work that's straight up Hanneman/King (Slayer), before settling into a speedy riff salad that would do Anthrax or Testament proud.
Despite its end-of-the-world inspired album title and cover artwork, Apocalypto is simply a fun, neck snapping listen all the way through. I may be too old to mosh nowadays (I don't wanna break a hip y'know!) but while listening to killer tracks like "Coma," "Greater Than God," or "Back To Yesterday" I felt like a kid again, ready to jump in the pit and do some damage. You can tell that the members of The Outer Limits play this style of music because they genuinely love it, not to cash in on nostalgia or score some mythical "underground" scene points. Their enthusiasm and respect for the likes of Slayer, Testament, Exodus, Forbidden, Flotsam and Jetsam, Overkill or any of a hundred other bands shows in every single note they play. Best of all, Apocalypto has held up very well to repeated spins, which is not something I can say for a lot of current retro-thrash bands, whose CDs usually sound killer during their first play but tend to reveal lots of filler upon subsequent listens.
In a nutshell, Apocalypto is good friendly violent fun for anybody who came of age during the thrashin' '80s, or simply wishes that they had. I may only have a digital promo copy of Apocalypto at the moment, but as soon as CD copies hit the street I will definitely be adding the disc to my collection. I'm also officially on the hunt for The Outer Limits' debut album, 2014's World Metal Supremacy, as well. Good show, boys! Remember, kids... mosh responsibly, because the Pit is it!
The Outer Limits discography:
World Metal Domination - Stormspell Records, 2014
Apocalypto - Stormspell Records, 2017
© 2017 Keith Abt