Review: Trail of Blood – Closer to God

Trail of Blood are a four piece thrash metal outfit from Germany, and they have been around for quite a while. With Closer to God, they now release their fourth full length record. Other than many other thrash metal bands that I come across recently, Trail of Blood do not seem to try and sound retro. Their sound is modern, there is lots of groove in their thrash, and the vocals are mostly shouts/screams/growls.

Trail of Blood label themselves as melodic thrash metal, but I would argue that most of the riffs are equally or less melodic than your typical thrash metal riff. On the contrary, I think there is lots of tendencies towards death metal in their sound and riffs, but whatever. One exception might be the chorus of I, The Abyss, which leans towards melodic death metal territory. But subgenres aside, what they definitely like is heavy, punching-the-teeth-out-of-your-face riffs and fast, virtuosic guitar solos. While they definitely know their way around a fretboard, the solos never descend into technical exhibitionism, but are rather melodic and tasteful. Very nice.

The one minor gripe I have with this band is the vocals. While I like the style and sound, there is not much variety between songs. The delivery stays mostly the same, which makes songs blend together a bit, even though the riffs are quite varied. There are some memorable shout-along-friendly refrains though, for example on Closer To Heaven or Take Another Lamb, that will stand out a bit and stick with you. This is a minor complaint though, as the riffing is what you are probably here for, and the riffing is great.

While Trail of Blood do not reinvent thrash metal or produce a classic for the ages with Closer to God, they deliver a rock-solid, hard-hitting thrash record that never gets boring and will have you bang your head pretty much all of the time. There is much to love here, and they will definitely light up quite some mosh-pits as soon as those are an acceptable thing again.

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