Driven Under ‘Hands in Chains’ EP

New 2015 release, from Swiss heavy thrashers Driven Under, ‘Hands in Chains’ EP.

First Aid Trash – Oh yes!  Lovely melodic speed power riff intro, with some very nice prominent bass and gorgeously heavy drumming.  Very angry shouty lyrics, combined with sung ones, which makes for an interesting change in sound.  This has something of the nu-metal, rap rock combo about it and I have to say it works, especially since it’s filled with so much sexy riffage.  Exciting fresh flavour and full marks for originality.  Catchy chorus and great fast-pace, with an upbeat feel.  Has to be heard.  Very 90s, in a good way.

Alright – A slightly heavier opening, with a hint of gritty grunge type vocals.  Again, well played versatility factor.  An unexpected volley of drumbeats, followed by more of those gritty soulful vocals.  It’s got melody, with a slight stonerish vibe, alongside true heavy-metal drumming and a grungy vocal style, with lots of power riffs, all of which makes for a really varied and eclectic sound.  Inspiring and uplifting and long enough to be enjoyed and savoured in its’ entirety.

Redemption – Gentler intro, providing room to breathe, inside the beautiful guitar riffs and powerful vocals, which within this track, alternate between heavy and slightly gentler, but still retaining that manly gritty sound.  This guy really feels the words he sings.  That much is obvious.  Plenty more melody in these vocals, joined by the same in an instrumental sense.  Some simply gorgeous hooks and catches in here.  Very very full and flavoursome.  I couldn’t help singing and smiling along.  Love it.

See You in Hell – Blistering drum intro.  Liking the varied opening techniques in each song.  Back to that strong gritty vocal sound.  Loads of neatly played fiery furious riffs.  The whole thing is just played so competently and has a very clear feel of accomplished performance throughout.  Growing increasingly catchy and increasing in speed towards the end.  An instant headbanger.  Loving that closing section of impassioned singing and screaming and raging riffs and drum beats.  Tops it off perfectly.

Hands in Chains – More of a kick drum start to this, with a slight tribal feel, before moving fluidly into a much gentler riff and vocal tone and style.  This band certainly aren’t short on variety, that’s for sure.  Some nice harmonies in there, growing heavier, accompanied by the faster, harder riffing and drumming.  You just have to join in, as the pace increases.  This is one of those in which you hear and feel true heartfelt passion and love for the music being performed.  It’s simply unmistakable.  A nice deep voiced section in there, reminiscent of a metalled up Crash Test Dummies, jamming along with Linkin Park and Skindred and just having the time of their lives.

True Life – Yes! Metalling it back up with a true thrash metal intro, with suitably thrashy power screams and riffs, followed and then accompanied throughout by equally thrash fuelled heavy as hell drumming.  This track’s far more reminiscent of classic power metal bands, old and current.  Once more, displaying their sheer vitality and versatile ability to segue effortlessly from one style to another and pull off each one just as well.  Yes, this track is where it’s at and is undoubtedly my favourite and as such, is well placed as the closer – leaving you quite literally desperate for more.  Sexy in spades and in a way you’re unlikely to hear in quite the same way in any other release this year.  Truly, if this is what metal heaven’s composed of, then I can’t wait to join these guys there.

Overall, a sensual, fun filled, powerful blast of sheer, thrilling, exhilarating thrash metal heaven.  I particularly like their method of fusing so many different styles and sounds, but ultimately, keeping that great thrashy vibe throughout.  Oh and those screams at the end are to die for.  Every track rocks, but the standout one has to be, undeniably, ‘True Life’.  Give it a whirl, whilst doing it standing up behind a Marshall amp, cranked up to the highest possible volume.

10/10  **********

For fans of power/speed/thrash metal, nu-metal (Linkin Park), rap rock, (Skindred) and other combo/crossover styles, grunge metal, European metal, specifically and for anyone wanting something new and original in the thrashy stakes. More open minded metallers will love this.

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