Pop Quiz! The Haunted, Entombed, In Flames, Man.Machine.Industry; what do all these bands have in common? They all produce some kick ass music yes but they also all hail from Sweden. I’m not sure what they put in the food over there, but Sweden knows it’s metal. Bonus question. What kind of music is “The Big Four” (Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica) known for? Thrash metal of course is the answer. You see where this is going don’t you?
Kayser is a Swedish metal band, but not of the Death Metal variety. Kayser walks a different path out of Sweden and into Thrash Metal territory. In doing so they set the Thrash Metal bar high. Especially with their latest release “Read Your Enemy”.
“Read Your Enemy” is twelve tracks of relentless thrash metal. The album starts off mid-tempo on “Bark and Bow” with wailing guitars and sludgy drums. It only takes a minute though and soon Kayser is pummeling the listener with pounding drum beats and chugging guitars. If you’re not banging your head two minutes in you are either deaf or dead.
“Bring Out The Clown” really cranks up the thrash sound with the speed and energy of a freight train. The track is two minutes of cranial pummeling with crunchy guitars, deafening solos and thundering drums that never let up. The track “Read Your Enemy” continues in a similar vein, adding some seriously catchy (and head banging) drum rhythms mixed with scorching guitar solos and lead singer Spice’s gravelly vocals. While the track “Where I Belong” adds a bit more groove to the Thrash sound with some slick guitar riffs, a catchy chorus and a slightly more sluggish pace.
There are a few things that work very well on “Read Your Enemy”. The first being Spice’s vocals. His voice is just another instrument that adds to the sound of Kayser and it fits in perfectly. It’s harsh, raspy and sounds like he’s been gargling gravel and that helps further set the sound and tone of the album. But Spice proves he can also sing beyond screaming on the track “Dreams Bend Clockwise” during a slower part of the song.
Another thing that works well on “Read Your Enemy” is the fact that all the songs work together and are cohesive but each track is different enough to keep the listener engaged. Kayser definitely has a “sound” but this album never gets redundant or boring. It hooks you on song one and keeps you in it’s grasp until it’s over. Along with that, the production value of “Read Your Enemy” is top notch. You can tell the band has brought in influences of various genres of metal to create the sound found on “Read Your Enemy”.
After just this one album, Kayser has shot to my top 10 of excellent Thrash Metal bands. “Read Your Enemy” has everything a Thrash fan could want in an album. Even the cover art is fantastic. I seriously propose that the metal community change the “The Big Four”. The new “Four” needs to be Slayer, Anthrax, Testament and Kayser. If you are a Thrash fan, pick up “Read Your Enemy”. You will definitely not be disappointed.