The crossover thrash scene has been on a hot streak in recent years, consistently producing bands who are doing what they love by bringing the genres that got them into heavy music together. One of the bands that perfectly encapsulates just how much fun that sounds like is RHYTHM OF FEAR. Perfectly hitting that sweet spot between aggression and riffs that fill you with energy, they represent the music history of Florida.
On their second-full length release, titled Fatal Horizons, RHYTHM OF FEAR pays homage to the bands that were so influential on their own tastes but do it in a way that breathes new life into this classic sound. Its combination of classic 80s horror/metal artwork and making thrash the star of the show, gives Fatal Horizons the feeling of a record you could find in a box whilst digging through some hidden gems of this genre’s golden era. Vocalist Jay Santiago says that the slight shift in direction compared to their previous projects was an extension of who the band are as individuals.
“I wouldn’t say that we necessarily were like, yay, we’re going to go more thrashy with this record, I think that’s just the natural progression on what we do. It just kind of came out naturally, rather than, like, forced, and that’s kind of what I liked about this record is I don’t think we were really forcing anything to begin with. I think we’ve kind of fell into our own sound. And that’s just what’s more comfortable to us.”
Fatal Horizons doesn’t just pay its respects to the bands that RHYTHM OF FEAR grew up on, it emulates what they did best and gives it a new lease of life. Most impressive is that it never feels like thrash karaoke night but like music from a band that was also embedded in those scenes.
The band’s thrash pedigree is no joke either, they know their SANCTUARY from their SACRIFICE. They lovingly refer to three particular bands as “the trinity”, made up of Chicago’s CYCLONE TEMPLE, Seattle’s FORCED ENTRY and the UK’s SLAMMER. “Everybody knows the Big Four and that’s always going to be like an influence of ours, but we tried to try to dig a little bit deeper, and try to find bands that were probably just as good, if not better. Some of them really didn’t make it as far as like the Big Four, you know, but to us, they should have been, you know, at the same like level,” Jay says. “I just urge everybody to dig a little bit deeper, and, you know, find inspiration in not just what’s, you know, in front of your face, but you know, dig.”
Just one glance at Fatal Horizon’s artwork and it’s clear to see that 80s horror is another big creative influence. Blurring the lines between real-world nightmares and those found in movies and the pages of a book, the album is covered in dark corridors and gore. From the creepy interludes that break up the thrash tracks, echoing the METALLICA/Lovecraft synergy, to a track based on Clive Barker’s Hellraiser.
Elsewhere on the record, the lyrical content takes on far more grounded horrors like on the track Parasomniac which deals with Exploding Head Syndrome or EHS, something Jay Santiago has been living with for the last ten or so years. “The drummer and myself, we experienced exploding head syndrome. It’s kind of like, when you’re on the verge of falling asleep, you hear a loud like sound, it could be like the sound of a laser just like a loud crash of some sort. That jolts you awake and keeps you from sleeping. So we both deal with that,” he explains. “And then our drummer deals with what’s called Alice In Wonderland syndrome, where sometimes things appear bigger or smaller. There’s just a bunch of different anomalies and things like that. But that’s pretty much you know, what the song was about, Just the sleeping disorders that we kind of deal with on a daily basis. Insomnia is another big one.”
Whilst Fatal Horizons might be conjuring up an 80s horror movie in your mind, it’s biggest strength is how much fun the record is and that’s because of the energy put into it by the band. By diving further into thrashy seas, it captures the fist-raising and head-banging momentum whilst never losing it’s self-awareness. Crucially, unlike a lot of the 80s horror that it draws from, this is no remake with a fresh coat of paint.
“We just try to keep it interesting and not necessarily do what’s popular, but more just be genuine to ourselves. We do what we like and what we as a band actually like enjoy listening to.”
Fatal Horizons is out now via MNRK Heavy.
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