Few album titles are as apt as Maze of Terror’s debut full-length, “Ready To Kill”. From start to finish, this record continually punches you in the face with sheer aggression, and just doesn’t stop. Though there are a variety of twists and turns throughout the 55-minute journey, this album is grounded in face-ripping thrash. The spitting blackened vocals take things to a darker place, resulting in a record that just doesn’t let up.
From the onset of “Rotting Force” it becomes immediately clear that Maze of Terror’s riffs are just a cut above many other bands’. This track’s main riff is both incredibly memorable and hard-hitting (which is only further emphasized by the blasting drums), switching between rhythmic quarter notes, and speedy tremolo picking. The next song, “Lycanthropes”, shows that Maze of Terror can deliver the groove. Once the song takes off, the drums lock into an insanely tight section, driven by fast double bass, with a tame rock beat over top. This is something you just don’t hear enough of in thrash, or really metal as a whole. Shortly after this, Maze of Terror returns to their thrashy ways, and spends much of the remainder of the song annihilating you with riffs. “Violent Mind of Hate” is another track where the band explores new territory, as the song opens with a punky drumbeat and bass line before exploding into a full-on thrash assault. Most songs do tend to have at least one distinctive feature like this, making the entire record worthwhile.
The core theme of this record is hatred. Every single thing about “Ready To Kill” sounds incredibly angry, and this authentic emotion translates well to an enjoyable listening experience. The band has no qualms about launching into lengthier musical sections, or doing the exact opposite and unleashing 1,000 words per minute. Everything about this band sounds like they want to break your neck, and they certainly accomplish the musical equivalent of that. Most often this is done because of the sheer speed at which most songs on this album move, but even some of the more mid-paced parts rock incredibly hard.
The production is a major strength for “Ready To Kill”. The guitars are thick, and drowning in distortion. It makes already heavy riffs feel like they’re dragging the world down with them. Everything sounds good enough that you can’t really complain about it, but not so good as to lose that old-school feel. If there’s any complaint I have about this record, it would be that it’s a bit long. But even despite being nearly an hour, it doesn’t have any bad songs or weak moments. It’s just a lot to digest, especially considering the nature of the music. Nevertheless, this is among the more impressive thrash offerings as of late, largely due to the unique riffs that appear all throughout the album.
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4.25/5 or 85%.