- Divide and Rule
- All is Lie
- Kingdom of Hate
- The Chessboard Killer
- Into the Inferno
- Human Control
- Age of Terrorism
- Killed by Me
- Shut Up!
Sorry, metal critics…I hate these definitions “old school thrash”, “new school thrash”. Give a listen to the first full-length album of thrash newcomers PokerFace “Divide And Rule” and tell me what it is. In my modest opinion, it is great raw speedy thrash with some death metal influences (oh, this beauty and beast, two in one, Delirium, pure death metal goddess) which makes metalheads headbang and critics nod: ja, ja, sehr gut! Hundreds of new thrash albums sound the same, and it has nothing to do with Divide And Rule – the album is perfectly built in its composition, shows all the band’s composing and professional playing abilities, all songs sound differently.
The album starts with the album carrier song Divide And Rule. It is like a mini presentation of the band giving the first impression: PokerFace play aggressive classical thrash with all its classical features – high speed, simple, straight forward metal riffs, with groove bridges, canonic mastermind solos and aggressive ends!
All Is Lie which follows the carrier track opens with a keyboard intro and then blasts your ears with fast guitars. The band love this track and use it as a business card at their performances, very often opening gigs with All Is Lie.
As I have already mentioned: don’t expect that PokerFace songs sound the same…there is a “kindersurprise” in each song which makes the album an interesting story…Next song of the album, Kingdom Of Hate, was written with participation of the ex-leader of the band Dietrich. Slow swinging intro as a werewolf transfers into the high speed beast with long solo howling. Yes, this is a surprise, the guys are super professional musicians who expose their guitar skills in solo! The fans of PokerFace adore this song!
The Chessboard Killer (extended) comes from the debut EP. The band improved it, made it longer, the second part sounds faster and more aggressive, I’d say…malicious. This song is about a famous Bitza maniac, and journalists often ask the band if they heroize him. The answer is NO. And this song is one of my the most favorite ones of this album.
Next song, Existence, proves that PokerFace is able to extend their musical horizons. The song was written after the tour with Sepultura, and we can immediately feel Sepultura influence, groove elements, which you can hardly notice, prove that the band can absorb the best of metal genres without any harm to their pure thrash style.
Into the Inferno track is another surprise. Did I say that PokerFace present simple thrash? No. The sophisticated track has Slayerish harmony of bridges and breakdowns: slow intro, speedy acceleration on pit stops, slow passages. High quality thrash.
Human Control has a vital lyrics topic, this song is about a biomass controlled by modern technology. Check how long you can live without your mobile, listener, lol! A skillful solo is the main feature of the song.
Age Of Terrorism is a throwback to the past, as it was recorded with ex-leader of the band Dietrich, the band rarely perform it live, it is in an Encyclopedia of history of PokerFace.
Killed by Me is an experimental track. The band tried to gather in one song technical thrash, speed metal and diversified vocal of Delirium, slow and accelerating in chorus. Well…congratulations, guys, your experiment was definitely a success.
The album closes with the uncompromising metal hit Shut Up!. The most dynamic, with old death metal influences, song of the album. Parties of 250 bpm speed make young musicians exercise physically and show their professional skills. It’s a blast of energy!
The album was met by the fans and the metal critics with more than positiveness. Modern elements don’t spoil old school (haha, I hate this term!) thrash and it is more live than alive! Rawness and apparent simplicity of the album reveal surprising discovery of sophisticated and professional approach of the PokerFace musicians, if you listen to the album attentively. I think that we can consider PokerFace a new star on the thrash metal scene, and Divide And Rule is a brilliant start of their career.
I’d give 9 of 10 scores to this album and highly recommend it to all “old school”, “new school” thrashers.
Release date: 13-09-2015
Reviewer: Tania Legrand