Hot on the heels of their excellent EP, Red Devil last year, Alkira this year drops their full length album Juggernaut, a 50-odd minute, erm, juggernaut release. With the hype that the band has managed to create with the energetic material on Red Devil, Juggernaut was certainly one of the releases that I looked forward to after my encounter with Red Devil. Yet, can these Aussies live up to expectations after a great 2013?
Juggernaut kicks off with Chains, an instrumental intro that hints towards a more melodic style this time round, with even some elements of atmospherics and ambient. Things gear up a notch as soon as Submission Therapy kick in, and it is business as usual for Alkira as one is treated to riffs by Greg and Kyle with their heavy Testament and Metallica influences.
The focus on the grooviness in their music is still evident with tracks like Land of the Sodomite Damned, and along with the energy of drummer Ryan, there are moments where one is reminded of the intensity of bands like Exodus or newer acts like Havok or Bonded by Blood. The interplay between Greg’s and Kyle’s leads even remind one of the interplay between Gary Holt and Lee Altus, further endearing this release to fans of old school thrash.
Yet the band seems to have matured in the span of a year between Red Devil and Juggernaut, with the results of the songwriting being less reckless than before, and songs more well thought-out. For instance, songs like #479 and Land of the Sodomite Damned see the band easily incorporate less speedy moments to result in an overall extremely groovy outcome, and tracks that one can easily headbang/mosh to. In particular, The Fleet uses big, melodic hooks, giving the track a nice, 80s big hair metal feel before hitting listeners with a huge dose of crushing thrash.
With all said and done, I am still a firm believer of short and sweet thrash releases, and Juggernaut‘s 50-odd minute runtime almost threatened to outstay its welcome at times. Fortunately, Alkira manages to ensure that the listener is kept enchanted throughout, making this quite an impressive debut full length for the band.
Alkira on the internet: