Review: Thraz – Roll of Dice

It was composer/guitarist/vocalist/bass player David Mano who formed the thrash metal band Thraz in the Greek city of Thessaloniki. After a few line-up changes the current line-up crystallized in which drummer/backing vocalist George Ballas is the only other band member, besides David. Last October Thraz released their debut album via the also Greek record label Alcyone Records. This debut album is titled Roll of Dice. David and George may be Thraz’ only band members, there are a few others to be heard on Roll of Dice though. You can hear Jim Selalmazidis play bass on Deceive, Bite Me and Hold Your Cards, while he, just as Aristoteles Fysseas and Orestis Dimitriou,  also delivers backing vocals.

So, there are five men delivering backing vocals, since David himself is singing lead as well as backing vocals on the album. Due to this the backing vocals have this really gang-like sound that’s also regularly to be heard in old school thrash metal. To get an example of this, be sure to listen to Deceive and Get A Job. While the backing vocals are quite nice, David’s lead vocals are a point of criticism in my opinion. Okay, he does deliver those very typical and very fitting raw old school thrash metal vocals, but in my opinion those do sound a bit too overdone and somewhat forced. In addition to that, his lead vocals are also a bit too much at the front of the mix. Due to the combination of these two things there’s quite a high risk of your attention going too much towards these vocals quite fast, such as in the title track, while the other aspects also deserve that attention, maybe even more.

That’s because there are a few very interesting things to be heard on Roll of Dice, like the humming bass, such as in the title track, Feeding Hand, Bite Me and Failure (To Communicate), the at moments nice and deep sounding drums, such as during the intros of Deceive and Hold Your Cards, two heavy pounding tracks with a lot of energy, and in the instrumental closing track Changing Eras.

However, the most interesting on Roll of Dice are the guitar parts on this album. It may be clear that there are tight thrashy riffs to be heard on a thrash album. A few examples of that being heard in Feeding Hand and Bite Me. There are other, sometimes even quite unexpected, things to be heard guitar-wise on Roll of Dice though. For example we’ll hear some more melodic guitars in opener Arrival-Braindead, the last part of the title track and at the end of Bite Me, and some, that’s right, country-like guitar parts in Nothing From You, the title track and Changing Eras, which crazily enough fit very well at those moments. In addition to that there are quite a lot of nicely roaring guitar solos to be found on Roll of Dice, such as in Nothing From You, which has that same country-like vibe but in a bit more subtle way, the title track, of which the solo partly sounds quite neoclassical and partly quite bluesy, and the shreddy solos in Get A Job and Bite Me, with the latter one even including two of those shreddy solos.

It may be clear that the guitars on Thraz’ debut album Roll of Dice are standing out the most, with the at some moments added, quite unexpected country-influence being a very bold, but very fitting addition. Aside from that, Thraz delivered a solid thrash metal album, but there are some aspects that could be better in my opinion, especially in the area of the vocals.

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