Monday, 7 November 2016

Gig Preview: Onslaught Ready To Slay

1986, The year the Earth shook, cracked and moshed under the dominant rule of thrash. It was a game changing year and is still hailed as the year zero of modern metal as we know it today. Metallica’s Master Of Puppets; Slayer’s Reign In Blood; Megadeth’s Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? Annihilated the glam plastics of the day, reclaiming metal and sending the heaviest creative expression in human history into fucking orbit.

But what about us over here in old Blighty? The new wave of American thrash didn’t take long to reach our shores. In response, a Bristolian five-piece that very year were preparing to release their sophomore album that would help shape the UK thrash scene into a rabid beast. Onslaught, the band that gnashed and tore metal wide open over on this side of the pond brought thrash to the masses. Though having modest success with their 1985 debut, Power From Hell, it was their much celebrated 1986 classic, The Force that really booted the metal scene right up its arse.

For metal in the UK, this was a big deal. It had been the first time that the States overtook and pioneered metal, ultimately cementing the genre for the next few decades. Over here however, if your name wasn’t Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, you were an underdog. In the early 80s, hardcore punk had exploded onto the British scene. Bands such as Discharge and grindcore godfathers Napalm Death were the ugly face of the underground that ultimately helped push thrash into the limelight. Venom had been the closest to anything like thrash, laying down the blueprint for the genre, as well as black metal, with 1981’s immortal Welcome To Hell.

In an interview for Metal Hammer’s thrash special back in 2014, guitarist Nige Rockett explained about Onslaught’s roots in punk: “Hardcore in ’82 and ’83 was the big thing. The second wave of punk bands like Discharge had a more metal sound to them anyway. As we grew and thrash came along we were able to add more metal to what we did, but there were still a lot of hardcore influences there. We were all into Priest, Sabbath, Mot├Ârhead and Discharge and GBH – put those together and that’s kind of where we came from. When we heard Venom – which was kind of metal with this real dirty edge to it, a punk attitude – it was so over the top, full on and chaotic that everyone wanted to be out there doing what they were doing.”

With the release of The Force in May, 1986, it paved the way for more bands in the scene to make their mark. In their wake Sabbat, Virus and Acid Reign gave British thrash legitimacy. The Force itself is a fist-clenching, headbanging, bullet-belt wearing, mosh pit opening, skull crushing piece of pulverising metal. In the 44 minutes and 56 seconds of high tempo fury, it took the bay area formula of unrelenting machine gun riffs, tornado drums and rabid-barking vocals, making it a staple of British metal.

30 Years on, the echoes of the past still ring out and has helped shape the metal underground as we see it today. As we celebrate this momentous album, what better way to do so than to grab your patched jacket, chug down a beer or five and keep the flame alive at Fuel Rock Bar this November, where Onslaught will be playing The Force in its entirety. With support from fellow nutcases Beholder and Anihilated, if you’re not pumped about this, then maybe you should take a good hard look at yourself and stick to your non-alcoholic-lager-top and sit this one out. Though we have seen some great names disappear from our world this year, show your support and honor our fallen brothers by celebrating metal the way it should be… in the pit! See you there!     

Make sure you head down to Fuel Rock Club tomorrow to catch something really special!

Tickets available via Fatsoma!

Fuel Rock Club

Fuel Rock Club
Cardiff's Only Dedicated Rock & Metal Bar and Club