Italy’s Ultra-Violence release third album and it’s a must buy if you love thrash. 8/10
Ah the 80’s! Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, mullets, breakdancing and blistering thrash metal courtesy of the San Francisco ‘Bay Area’ scene, a scene Ultra-Violence are clearly very familiar with. It’s easy to see why front man Loris Castiglia‘s favourite song on Operation Misdirection is opener Cadaver Decomposition Island; it immediately brings to mind bands like Exodus, early Metallica, early Sepultura and Death Angel but with that huge clanking bass that Anthrax made famous with a helping of Lamb of God thrown in for good measure. A blinding six minute start followed by the big hook of Welcome to the Freakshow, a short punchy affair to keep you on your toes which has a strange quality, Ultra-Violence make music that feels very familiar even though it’s all new material – a very unique skill which few bands can pull off.
My Fragmented Self changes the tempo and feel with an intro that could be a classic Slayer song before detouring into Testament territory then changing tempo again two minutes in. This begins an interesting formula where songs change regularly which keeps them fresh, interesting and on times mind blowing but occasionally a change doesn’t quite work. Then again, when it doesn’t work, another change is just around the corner to get back on track.
Then we hit a snag in the form of a cover. Some songs/bands should be off limits for covers and Money for Nothing by Dire Straits is one of those songs as there is no way anyone can do the song justice. I’ll give Ultra-Violence credit here because they’ve turned Money for Nothing into a thrash version and parts of it do work beautifully, which is not something I thought I’d ever say.
The Stain on my Soul Remains is an instrumental track, which is good but following a cover perhaps isn’t the wisest choice of running order. Likewise Shining Perpetuity deviates from anything that’s come earlier on the album and while it’s a stormer of a track we now have 3 songs in a row which have gone off the very nice path the first half of the album established. Operation Misdirection finishes off with two live in the studio tracks – Burning Through the Scars and Spell of the Moon which were the opening tracks on previous albums Deflect the Flow and Overcome the Privilege. Both are great tracks as bonuses and give the album a satisfying finish.
Operation Misdirection is a solid album that Ultra-Violence should be very proud of and is definitely worth a spin.
4 out of 5 (Revised to 8/10)
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