Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Howler's Newest Album Offers Modern and Creative Thrash Metal
Howler is a thrash metal band from the nation of Costa Rica that I had briefly heard in late 2019. If you are willing to expand your musical boundaries and listen to new and modern improved thrash metal, Howler may be one of those choices. Their 2020 studio album called "No More Circus!" is what we will review and analyze here. We can add the band Howler to the growing list of thrash metal bands along with Heresy and Chemicide. In spite of the title of this album what is offered here is creative thrash metal that isn’t too overwhelming and melodic at the same time. This is no circus but an example of how thrash metal can be even in 2020.
Howler Has Toured With Bands Such as Whiplash and D.R.I.
It is not yet clear whether Costa Rica will become a kind of hotbed for thrash metal but there is certainly an attempt by Howler to offer enjoyable modern thrash. Howler has been the opening act at live shows for bands such as Whiplash and D.R.I.
"Empire of the Clowns"
Some of the Musical Influences on the Album No More Circus!
However, what is offered on this album is not 100% modern as there are influences ranging from a little touch of Iron Maiden, Sacred Reich and Metallica. If you are listening to thrash metal especially at night and you crave thrash metal that is newer as opposed to the older classic bands that formed way back in the day, then Howler is a great choice.
What is important especially in music is for the art form to evolve over time and with bands such as Howler, we are witnessing that evolution even if these guys don’t offer something like original thrash metal that hasn’t been done before. This album isn’t another Ride the Lightning even though it has 8 songs. There are no instrumental songs and the musical approach is both modern thrash metal fused with melodic parts that we would not have heard in the 1980s.
Analysis of the Songs in No More Circus! and Lyrical Themes
There is a riffing style that is similar to Havok’s Time Is Up album with a very interesting bass line in the song called Infested Oak. The Iron Maiden influenced song Empire of the Clowns talks about a society in which people live their lives based on deception and even though they have goals, their goals do not help the average person but their goals are only meant to enrich their personal ambitions. Vocalist Carlos Diaz provides us with a decent vocal job as the Iron Maiden style melodies finish off this song. Nuke the Circus is a Sacred Reich influenced song that is actually about what happens when the news media bombards us with fake news as the approach in this kind of a society is just for entertainment purposes. The song’s bigger message is that we cannot let a corrupt government try to control us and we have to be the ones that fight for real change. No More Circus! is basically an album with lyrical themes about a corrupt political system as the leaders in power play games with our rights as we are seemingly left powerless to do anything.
This album ends with the song If You Want Peace, Prepare for War. The song is about what happens when the government in charge promises peace and welfare but in reality they are implementing policies that may lead the country closer to war. The song also in its lead guitar sections resembles a kind of thrash metal version of Dark Tranquillity if that makes any sense. This album is a good attempt by Costa Rica’s Howler to have thrash metal with 1980s influences that is also melodic. The standout songs in this 2020 album are several including Infested Oak, Empire of the Clowns and Nuke the Circus.
A Brief Discography of the Band Howler
|Year Released||Album Title|
Back to Madness
Fallen But Not Fogotten
No More Circus!
© 2020 Ara Vahanian