"The Helm of Awe" (Pure Steel; 2020)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Thrust's "The Helm of Awe" is pure metal from the opening track, "Black River," to  its final track, "Helm of Awe." It's loud, raunchy guitars, driving rhythms, raging guitar solos and solid from-the-gut vocals. It begs you to turn up the volume as you listen, to let the music overwhelm and envelop you, as great music should.

One of the things I like most about "The Helm of Awe" is that it's unapologetically old school. It's late 70s/early 80s metal that doesn't try to be anything more than just that. Thrust has been around for a long time with a number of different line-ups but the band today still sounds fresh and alive. The maturity borne in years, however, shows clearly in the lyrics, which are smart and story-driven.

Fans of music by Metal Church, Testament and their ilk will find plenty to like on "The Helm of Awe." My favorite tracks were the opener, "Black River," the galloping "Battle Flag," and the mini-epic (running at over seven minutes) "Killing Bridge," which gives the band a chance to slow down and really show off their chops and brings to mind the late, great Ronnie James Dio.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2020 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.