Guillotine – Demo EP Review

I feel like it is journalistically unethical to plug your own music in any sort of review format, or on any blog or news outlet. While I am not here to do that in the slightest, I do not have shame in promoting the music of friends of mine. I received a text but a few nights ago from one of my closest acquaintances, Sam (who just so happens to be my bandmate and fellow writer and editor for my music blog, PMMetalGuide), which stated, “Bro Aidan and David dropped a demo.” Aidan and David are two other acquaintances of mine that I met through Sam, all of whom attend school at UNH. I briefly remember them mentioning that they were in a band, but I, unfortunately, had never heard anything they had produced.
Needless to say, I was elated to have this opportunity to finally hear them play.
Guillotine is a thrash quartet based out of Concord who have just released their first recorded material (other than a cover of “Zombie Ritual” by Death): four lo-fi cuts that span just over 15 minutes. I’m not a huge fan of most modern thrash. Groups like Hazzerd, Overkill and Testament just seem uninspired and unoriginal. There are the occasional standout groups that really push the envelope, like Vektor and Havok (even though this band is basically just a stronger Megadeth clone), but overall I listen to the least thrash of any other genre.
Additionally, I usually do not like listening to demos, as the songs feel too rough around the edges, the production generally below par, and the performances somewhat sloppy. This is a somewhat flawed mindset, however, because having music professionally recorded is expensive, and mixing and mastering on one’s own is an entirely different skillset in and of itself. Listening to this demo has changed my outlook on this though (a large part of this is thanks to the personal connection), and I have listened to this release with a very different outlook.
While Guillotine‘s demo ep is rough around the edges, the tracks have a lot of passion and merit in the songwriting and performances. Holding a candle much closer to crossover groups like Power TripSuicidal Tendencies, and Municipal Waste than traditional thrash, the punkish energy displayed on tracks “Shredder” and “Dying” is a trait that is wanted and well-received from a primarily black metal listener like me. While the other two tracks, “No Violence” and “Guillotine,” have certain sections like this, it is nowhere near the fast-paced sonic onslaught provided on those mentioned before. These tracks show a more ‘traditional’ thrash sound, harkening back to Metallica‘s Kill ‘Em All and Slayer‘s Show No Mercy. The band’s love of death metal progenitors Death is also apparent on these tracks, as the ‘breakdowns’ and solos are extremely similar to something you would find on early death metal records like Scream Bloody Gore or Leprosy.
My favorite aspects of this demo, however, are the solos and the bass tone and listenability. Great solos are expected when listening to thrash metal, and fortunately, Guillotine rewards our sonic palates with pretty ripping solos on each and every song. As for the bass; the poor four-stringed cousin of the guitar is generally thrown to the wayside in thrash, but not on this project. The thick bass churns beneath the already chunky guitar tone and has a lot of time to highlight its often lost capabilities, in way of interesting grooves and even the occasionally time at the top of the mix.
There are only a few things that I do not like about this album, and I can mostly attribute these critiques to the bare-bones production used on the demo. Maybe once or twice the soloing guitar abruptly stops, which is unsurprising as the solos here are really quite fast-paced and pretty impressive. Additionally, on the title track, directly after David shouts ‘Send ’em to the fucking guillotine!’ I can briefly hear the strumming of the building guitar, which for me is pretty offputting. It ends swiftly as distortion is added, and fortunately, this is the only time on the record I could hear this.
Overall, this is a very impressive demo tape. No, this is not the greatest innovation the thrash metal genre has ever seen. But it is a solid starting release for an upcoming local band that deserves attention. Regardless of the fact that I am friends with the lead vocalist/guitarist and bassist, Guillotine‘s Demo EP is an addictively engaging release and an awesome start for these newcomers.
Final Verdict: ‘Give up your arms and fall to the shredder!’
Favorite Tracks: “Shredder,” “Dying,” “Guillotine”
FFO: Power TripSuicidal TendenciesDeath
Track List:
1. “No Violence”
2. “Shredder”
3. “Guillotine”
4. “Dying”
You can support Guillotine by purchasing this release on their Bandcamp.
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Communication Studies/Theater Student from Seabrook, NH. Musician, Actor, Writer.
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