Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Whiplash "Unborn Again"
Whiplash- Unborn Again
The return of thrash metal bands from yesteryear continues with “Unborn Again” from New Jersey’s semi-legendary Whiplash. Incidentally, it seems as if the releases from these recently rejuvenated bands giving it another go are alternating between Heavy Artillery Records and Pulverised Records (the label releasing “Unborn Again”).
At any rate, Whiplash first appeared during the heyday of thrash in the mid 80s, and I recall enjoying their first two full-lengths, “Power And Pain” and “Ticket To Mayhem”, which consisted of no-frills, straight away thrash metal. Whiplash failed to impress me with their third full-length, “Insult To Injury”, though, and I basically lost track of the band. To be honest, I haven’t listened to Whiplash since those days as I ended up selling my vinyl copies of the first three albums prior to jumping into graduate school (sacrilege, I know). Whiplash did release a few more albums, but haven’t been heard from since 1998.
Flash forward to the current thrash revival, and, sure enough, Whiplash reappear with founding member Tony Portaro at the helm and some good cover art with a carnival theme on “Unborn Again” from Ed Repka. To be honest, with “Unborn Again”, I was more or less expecting a beefed up Exodus clone, as has been the case with Onslaught and a few others. Modern production values are present with “Unborn Again” (courtesy of Harris Johns; now there’s a blast from the past), but the album is definitely not what I was expecting. Instead of modern thrash, or even a throwback to a mid to late 80s style with aggression and snarl, what “Unborn Again” most closely ends up resembling is a sped up version of late NWOBHM. In fact, given that most of the music sounds like an up-tempo version of Judas Priest and early Iron Maiden, describing Whiplash as speed metal, as opposed to thrash metal, is probably more apt. Most of the songs are decent enough and well played (a nice cover of the Montrose classic “I’ve Got The Fire” is included, as well as a couple of guest solos from Frank Blackfire), but the big problem with “Unborn Again” is the lousy vocal delivery from Portaro. The vocals lack any punch whatsoever, seem to be much higher pitched than what I remember, and ruin “Unborn Again” for me, plain and simple.
Once again, I’m mostly disappointed with the reappearance of yet another band from the heyday of thrash metal.
Whiplash Official MySpace