Old school thrash metal, sounds straight from the era of Metallica’s Ride the Lighting, Master of Puppets, and Justice for All and Megadeth’s Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying. So think back to those years and how there really hasn’t been much lately that sound like that in terms of tone, speed, and attitude and once you can hear that, you have a good idea of what Mad Dragzter sounds like on their new album Master of Space and Time.
Mad Dragzter is yet another Brazilian act that metal aficionados likely have not heard but should check out. Hailing from Sao Paulo, Mad Dragzter returns after a 9 year hiatus with the same lineup as on Kiling the Devil Inside that was release in 2006. Pulling out all stops this time the band even enlisted talented artist Sergio Cariello, known for some work in Mavel and DC comics, for the album artwork. Most interestingly, the album appears to be available for free download, all 15 songs and 64 minutes.
Not knowing anything about Mad Dragzter before getting the album to review, I just went ahead and listened before looking up anything about the band like I normally do in these situations. From the very opening of “Almighty” I could make a number of observations and listening to just the one song, you can identify a number of other characteristics of their sound and songwriting. The rapid-fire guitar riffs and drums immediately brought to mind the old Metallica as did other parts of the song including some parts that sound straight out of “Creeping Death”, so much so that I find myself humming “Creeping Death” after listening to this song. From a vocal perspective, Tiago Torres sounds a lot like old James Hetfield as well. As mentioned, those things carry through the entire album, unfortunately some of the other aspects of the album also carry through.
A lot of people have put in hours dissecting the production and sound of Metallica’s …And Justice for All as it seems very bass-less and unfortunately, that same overall sound is present on Master of Space and Time as well. Even though there is a short break in “Almighty” with a bass fill, overall, the sound has very little low end and punch. Even the opening to “Megiddo” which has some potentially great bass lines, comes across rather weak in this mix. One other aspect of the Mad Dragzter sound is some odd, almost experimental or ambient type guitar sounds often overlaid across the top of the songs in certain parts. Sometimes these are within the guitar solos and they just don’t seem to fit. I get the feeling they were trying to make their sound stand out but they end up sounding out of place and really distract from the otherwise excellent material.
Earlier, I mentioned both Metallica and Megadeth and there are elements of both in the sound of Mad Dragzter on the album, but the vocals retain, the Hetfield tone and style throughout. Songs like “Almighty” have the definite Metallica feel, while parts of “5708” have the fast rhythmic riffing found in many Megadeth songs. Others songs like “Gehenna: The Second Death” really don’t sound like either of those two bands, so this is not just an example of copying a style and “Gehenna…” is blindingly fast compared to those two bands and does stand out as being unique in that aspect alone.
From a subject matter standpoint, the songs could be exactly what you would expect from an older thrash band composed of Christians. Many of the subjects are Biblical in source and title and most focused on some of the darker aspects of the Bible including Hell, judgement, and the last days, all of which are not out of place on a thrash album.
Ignoring some of the production issues and experimental parts that don’t work, what you’re left with in the end is over an hour’s worth of good, fast thrash music and some great musicianship and performances that make the songs approachable and should appeal to a wide audience. Best of all, this is from a band many have never heard before, making this like finding a diamond in the rough…
Written by John Jackson
01. Almighty 3:16
02. Valley of Dry Bones 4:44
03. Master of Space and Time 4:44
04. 5708 4:21
05. Megiddo 5:03
06. Gehenna: the Second Death 3:04
07. King of Kings 5:00
08. Army of Truth 4:12
09. Sons of Thunder 3:18
10. The Man by the Pool of Bethesda 4:27
11. One Nation, One Church 4:28
12. From Emptiness to Infinity 4:17
13. Vox Spiritus Sancti 3:38
14. Wrath of God 5:01
15. New Heaven and New Earth 4:14
Tiago Torres – Guitar, vocals
Gabriel Spazziani – Guitar
Eric Claros – Drums
Armando Benedetti – Bass
Record label: Army Records, 2015
Video below: ‘Meggido’