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A Review of the Album Rotorhead by Malaysian Thrash Metal Band Athotorgh

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

This is a map of the Earth. Malaysia is one of the hardest countries to try and locate on a map. The country is in Southeast Asia close to Singapore.

This is a map of the Earth. Malaysia is one of the hardest countries to try and locate on a map. The country is in Southeast Asia close to Singapore.

About the Band Athotorgh and Their Album Rotorhead

Malaysia is one of the last places in the world that the thrash metal fan would think that there would be thrash metal but apparently in exists there. The band that we are covering has one of the strangest names in the history of music. They are called Athotorgh and their 2019 studio album is called Rotorhead. The band actually started their career way back in 1989 under a different name and then they were active from 1992 through 1999 before breaking up. They then re-formed in 2013.

About the Vocals and Musical Style

The vocals are not as high pitched and harsh like the band Distillator but they sound like Brazilian thrash metal band Attomica. I hear a sort of modern mix of Iron Maiden meets thrash metal in this album as well.

Necromass Abandon continues in the style of Iron Maiden meets thrash metal as it sounds like a more modern version of the album Killers except it is better sound with slightly more melody. The speed and technique in this song is pretty darn good for a band that was inactive for so many years. Sometimes in life, some people are so eager for domination that their ego takes over them. However, let us get back to the beginning of this album.

"Gospel of Sins"

Rotorhead: Analysis of the First Three Songs

Gospel of Sins sounds like some kind of music that Helstar would have written in 2010. But then, the song really speeds up sounding like a more modern Metallica but with more different kind of vocals. The song lyrically tells the story of what happens when someone loses their way as they get caught up in a sinful lifestyle. Darkness, deceit, and lust become the norms of the day for a person like this that loses their way in life. Thrashing in Torment sounds like Germany's Kreator in some of the riffing but obviously they cannot recreate some the brilliance that we hear from that band. However, the song changes its tone and it gets a bit more melodic which is the way to go if you want to have any chance of competing in the vast genre of thrash metal. Flags of War is like a 1980s thrash metal tune as it describes a night that gets dark and cold as both sides are preparing for war.

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Official Flag of the Country of Malaysia


Give the album Rotorhead a chance

Don't let the band's name or album title fool you, these guys are quite good! The music flows rather nicely even in the song Flags of War and the lead interludes definitely give that feeling of late 1980s thrash such as Holy Moses.

"Evil Orchestra"

How Is the Rest of the Album Rotorhead?

The title track sounds sort of like a hybrid of the US's Slayer and Brazil's thrash metal band Attomica although they may be slightly better. Thrash metal has really expanded since 1975 when Motorhead made their debut and thrash metal is in some ways a global cultural phenomenon however some countries excel at this better than others. The staccato kind of riffing is still present but it is not as raw compared to the sound in 1983 and 1984. “Spectre of Hell” turns into a sort of Fates Warning Meets thrash metal as it stops briefly and then the riffing begins as the song lyrically is about how someone can see ghosts as they must be careful otherwise they will be trapped inside some sort of hell. However, few thrash metal albums are perfect and this one certainly is not. But the first three songs in the album set a strong foundation as the album is 30 plus minutes of decent, fun thrash metal without being some re-hashing of other metal bands such as Slayer.

© 2020 Ara Vahanian

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