"The Switch to Turn Off Mankind"

(Vendlus Records 2007)Audiopain - The Switch to Turn Off Mankind

To paraphrase Vince Vaughn in "Swingers": Thrash baby, thrash. In a world where newcomer "thrash" outfits are covering up their Killswitch Engage t-shirts with denim jackets, it's nice to see that Norway's Audiopain are kickin' it like it's 1987. "The Switch to Turn Off Mankind" revisits the days when mullets ran wild, Russians were Red, and Slayer had yet to befoul themselves with the taint of nu-metal.

Unlike newer thrash bands, Audiopain don't get so caught up in trying to out-RPM everyone else that they forget to write songs that have proper structure, cool riffs, and all the other good stuff that separates actual songs from wild string-mashing. That's not to say that there isn't speed here. "Hellbound," the lead off track, and "Holy Toxic" fire off with the speed and precision of a high caliber automatic. The barrage slows into a mid-tempo death march on "Termination Fields" and the napalm-injected Motörhead-ish "Alliance." "Cobra Dance" closes the album with an epic, end of the world feel.

"The Switch to Turn Off Mankind" is on the short side, clocking in at only twenty-five minutes. You could look at this two ways: either Audiopain dropped a surgical strike, battering the listener and making a quick retreat before getting a chance to expose any weaknesses; or you might be of the opinion that CDs are expensive and this one is pretty goddamn short. "Reign in Blood" changed the metal world in a half hour, but this isn't "Reign in Blood." But than again, what is?

Length issues aside, (The album, children, let's keep this clean) Audiopain have churned out a grim yet powerful thrash juggernaut. "The Switch to Turn Off Mankind" takes no quarter and terminates with extreme prejudice.