Aussie thrashers Mason‘s love for Havok is obvious, with the band’s logo even bearing rather striking resemblance. With the excellent thrash that I have encountered from Australia thus far, from the Metallica-influenced Desecrator to my more recent exposure to faster and more intense bands like Alkira, expectations were rather high for Mason‘s debut, Warhead.
With Alarum, Mason once again proves the charm of Aussie bands, with the huge, sweeping riffs instantly hooking the listener into their brand of groovy, thrash metal. The band quickly picks up speed, and one is soon treated to some nice high-octane, energetic thrash. The riffs of Jimmy and Chris on the album quickly remind one of bands such as Exodus, with the speed and intensity at times can get rather reminiscent of bands like Havok or Bonded by Blood. Nonda’s drumming on the album adds much to the energy as well, and while often nothing overly-complicated, he punishes the skins relentlessly.
At the same time, the leads on Warhead are also extremely enchanting, with Jimmy and Chris showing off their chops through their extremely fast, yet melodic fretboard acrobatics. Solos on songs like Imprisoned even remind one of the more melodic Kirk Hammett moments. And it is precisely this nice balance of the aggression and melody that makes Warhead such a catchy, addictive release, and reminds one of the later works of Exodus or Overkill. Jeff Loomis even makes a guest appearance on Lost it All.
Warhead is a thoroughly outstanding and enjoyable debut release, and with releases such as these from Mason, Alkira and the likes, one can be reassured that the Aussie thrash metal scene is alive and well.