Review / Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane

Thrash metal has always been synonymous with breakneck speeds and absolutely ridiculous guitar riffs. It’s a tried and tested method which fans have enjoyed for decades. So why fix what isn’t broken? Flying the flag for UK trash metal is Shrapnel. The four-piece have been shredding up this small island with their brand of fun-loving metal tinged with a darker edge for a number of years.

Now, the quartet present their latest offering in the shape of Palace For The Insane which comes jam packed with headbanging riffs and the band’s unique brand of shouted vocals. Whereas a lot of thrash bands take the root of a more screeched vocal style to match the speed at which they are playing, Shrapnel take a more traditional shouted voice to lead their songs and it clearly defines everything that is coming out of bassist/vocalist Aarran Jacky Tucker’s mouth. The newly recruited vocalist doesn’t take long to stamp his authority all over this record and it is his clear voice which helps shine through the relentless onslaught of rapid drums and wizardry on the guitars.

Tracks like ‘Salt The Earth’ squeal into action and inject some groove into what Shrapnel do, but the band aren’t afraid to mix things up, even slowing things down for ‘Begin Again’. The track offers up a more doom-influenced side of the band and gives Tucker an opportunity to really showcase himself as a vocalist by demonstrating a more melodic side to his vocal talents.

Of course it would not be a thrash metal record without some nods to the kings of thrash themselves in Slayer, and on the track ‘Bury Me Alive’ there are parts of the track which Tom Araya and company would most certainly have been proud to have written.

At nearly an hour in length the album overstays its welcome a little, but overall this is one headbanging good time full of clever lyrics and face-melting riffs.

Palace For The Insane is out now on Candlelight Records. Order here.

Words: Tim Birkbeck