Album review: Terminalist – The Great Acceleration

Danish hyperthrashers Terminalist announce themselves in face-melting, neck-breaking fashion on The Great Acceleration.

Album review: Terminalist – The Great Acceleration
Sam Law

Are you the sort of metalhead who feels the need for speed? If so, Copenhagen quartet Terminalist might just take you to the limit. From that band name (think ‘terminal velocity’), to the title of this first album, to their own invented subgenre of hyperthrash, absolutely everything here is geared towards hammering the pedal to the metal and trying their best to get listeners heads banged clean off of their necks. Where many thrash purists claim that releases should be pared down to eight tracks, these lads go a step further by streamlining their debut album to just five.

That’s not to say there’s any feeling of being short-changed here, mind. Sharply titled opening track Relentless Alteration packs more twists and turns into four minutes than many bands manage in 40, charging through passages of thunderous weight and hard into some dextrous shred hairpins. Terminal Dispatch weaves the high tempos into something more textural, taking on almost a black metal feel before the high-drama bludgeon of its outro. It’s only with the arrival of 11-minute epic Invention Of The Shipwreck, though, that Terminalist truly show their hand, elevating their tireless speed metal into the soundtrack for some bonkers space-opera, teasing us with passages of dark ambience before cutting loose at light-speed with a cavalcade of riffs, solos and gutteral vocals that truly show no mercy.

Crucially, the death and black metal inflections here don’t feel forced, but rather the natural consequence of having supercharged the traditional thrash formula with such excess that it’s ripping at the seams of its beer-marinated battle jacket. And there are none of the hardcore-punk inflections that have felt so ubiquitous as of late.

Penultimate banger Estranged Reflection is the closest they come to respite, and even that switches from a nightmarishly insidious mid-pace to full-throttle around its midpoint before fading out with an echoing menace. Nine-minute closer Dromocracy, meanwhile, takes little time revving up the blastbeats for a head-spinning masterpiece that doesn’t truly stop for breath until the 510-second mark when, we have to presume, their arms must have flung loose from their bodies.

Terminalist are the sort of band who could pass many listeners by – in a warp-speed blur, probably. Thrash veterans looking for a true head-rush would do well to hand themselves over for The Great Acceleration’s half-hour of power, though. Just be sure to strap yourselves in for a wild ride.

Rating: 4/5

For fans of: Skeletonwitch, Dark Angel, Sadus

The Great Acceleration is released on May 7 via Indisciplinarian

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