REVIEW: LOST SOCIETY – TERROR HUNGRY

Only a year since their debut, Finnish thrashers Lost Society are back with their second album Terror Hungry, showcasing a heavier and more mature sound. The album is a very strong release, that most bands would be very happy with, and I can see why these guys are too. Even if it admittedly is much less exciting and attention-grabbing than 2013’s Fast Loud Death, Terror Hungry is a great piece of evolution for the four young Finns, who look to have a very bright future ahead of them.
When I had a chance to talk to the guys after they had played their set in London earlier this year, I had asked what to expect for the next album; Samy and Mirko (Guitars/Vocals and Bass respectively) both had told me to hold tight and wait for April, but did mention that the new album focused on the ‘Groovy’ feel that they had evidently loved.

Lost Society are already famous for this ‘Groovy’ sound, you can certainly hear all the 80s speed metal that has obviously influenced these guys in their sound. Fast Loud Death was for me easily the catchiest album of 2013 – before even one full play-through I was hooked. Nearly everything was perfect, and true to its name it was Fast, Loud and Deadly. With that as a basis for expectation, I was initially disappointed when I had first listened to Terror Hungry.

While it soon became very clear that Terror Hungry was indeed a very strong release, it doesn’t come off half as memorable as the album before it. With such a unique sound that worked so well for their first album, it’s possible that Lost Society had set the bar for expectations too high.

Terror Hungry is certainly energetic. Some of the thrash releases you hear nowadays sound a little clinical, they feel a little restricted in their pursuit of sounding ‘tight’. Lost Society’s work has always given off the feel you’d expect from a bunch of young dudes barely into their 20s; fueled by alcohol, pizza and speed metal, absolutely bursting with youthful energy, and if anything, it sounds like the quartet’s thirst for thrash has only increased since the first release. The album has an extremely organic sound, the song structure can sometimes be particularly unexciting, and the riffs can get a bit repetitive. There seems to be less progression riff-wise than you would hear in Fast Loud Death, but at no point does the album sound like it follows a template, or that much of it was planned very extensively, which is a good thing. Ripping lead lines soar at you from literally nowhere, rhythmic riffs crush you with their weight, it all really adds to the energy of the album.

The record starts with an intro track, Spurgutory the name of which is a combination of the Finnish word Spurgu (Alcoholic deadbeat) and Purgatory. The band describe it as a Sabbath-y sound, and they’re not wrong. Sirens, Divebombs and lead guitar wails accompany some doomy opening riffs, a few lines about drinking, and the track breaks into the groovy kind of rhythms Sabbath is known for, and you feel your expectations for the album really begin to rise. The album then breaks into a strong, confident track, Game Over. It’s an assault of speedy, bouncy rhythms that you’d be forgiven for thinking is actually a Megadeth piece. A through-and-true thrash track, it sets the tone for the album perfectly, and is a very wise choice for the front of the album, and is probably one of the better written songs on the album. Listening to this track will give you a good idea of what Terror Hungry is all about.
The album continues with an non-stop onslaught of attitude, with tracks that are all decidedly more brutal and heavier than their counterparts from the previous album. If Fast Loud Death was all about Speedy, Groovy hooks (which it was!) it soon becomes apparent that Terror Hungry is more about presenting a truly heavy attack. There’s no mistaking, Terror Hungry is a thrash album very true in spirit.
The message of Fast Loud Death was ‘WE’RE HERE TO GET DRUNK AND PARTY’ but now that message has grown up a little into ‘WE ARE HERE TO THRASH YOUR FUCKIN’ EARS OFF’
My main criticism of Terror Hungry, which I became aware of about half way through my first listen, and is the reason I’ve had to listen to the album about half a dozen times since, is that, especially when compared to Fast Loud Death, nothing in the album is particularly memorable. There are some really, really nice riffs on the album, but there’s so much, almost chaotic speed going on, that it’s hard for you to really soak up these riffs. By the time you get to the title track, which is only the fifth song, you might be hard pressed to recall anything you’ve just heard, apart from the opener. The sound on this album is so consistent, that nothing really stands out. The songs aren’t really “samey” at all, but they are all more-or-less on the same level with each other, which is a good thing, but after hearing the first album, you would have expected there to be more moments that really, really shone through.
The tracks that stand out the most for me are Game Over, Terror Hungry, Snowroad Blowout, Tyrant Takeover (which I feel is the strongest track on the album) Overdosed Brain, and Thrashed Reality(Another contender). It is worth noting that from Terror Hungry to Thrashed Reality, all those songs are placed consecutively, which gives the album it’s strongest streak in the middle, which is a very good placement.
It does become apparent to me that this is an album is made for the pit, and probably not for sitting on a chair in your room on a Sunday afternoon. Some of the riffs really make you want to mosh, and you realize that you’d be able to enjoy it a lot more if you had a crowd of people that you could thrash into.
Sound-wise the album is very strong, Nino Laurenne (Amorphis, Ensiferum, Lordi) does a very good job at the production desk. The sound is spatialised very well, and effects are executed brilliantly. The guitars have the high-gain boosted mids sound that we’ve come to expect in new-wave thrash, and the bass sounds very firm, but it’s clear there is more emphasis on the higher-frequencies in the album.
The drumming seems a little less complex and aggressive than previously heard, but there is a very high focus on rhythmic grooves instead of an almost non-sensical chaotic, thrash assault that you hear in some thrash albums.
Samy’s vocals are much more aggressive than you would have heard earlier, raspier, shoutier they really convey a powerful sense of youthful angst and passion. Lyric wise the band have not evolved much to match their sound, nothing too serious, but not inanely childish either, plenty about drinking, spewing, and kicking (or even kissing) arse.
Ending with a cover of Twisted Sister’s You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll, which really says it all, you’ve really gotta give the young lads respect for keeping the energy so strong throughout. I can’t say if Terror Hungry will be my thrash album of the year, but it certainly is a successful release, and it does a very good job of being exactly what it’s supposed to be – a heavier, faster more brutal version of the 80’s heavy metal records that the guys have obviously grown up listening to.
Terror Hungry is a very consistent and strong album, there are few weak points at all, but has tellingly less special moments than Fast Loud Death. The album is faster, heavier and better executed than some of the recent work put out by the biggest names in the genre, and paves the way for what looks to be a very exciting and fulfilling career for the young Finns. The new release might be less exciting than the last one, but the future for Samy, Mirko, Ossi and Arttu is very exciting indeed. It’s fair to wonder what their place will be in the genre a decade from now. My bets are that it will be a very strong one.
RATING:
7.5/10

Terror Hungry was released by Nuclear Blast Records on the 4th of April 2014.
Review by Connor Greenway.

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