Once in a while an album drops into your life unexpectedly, blows your mind and immediately becomes a favorite because it’s so damn good. Such is the case with myself and the new Bombus album, The Poet and the Parrot. I’d never even heard of these guys before I checked this out. I literally knew nothing about them, aside from their name, the name of the album and what the album cover looked like. But it quickly engulfed me and I can’t count how many times I’ve listened to it now.
It kicks off with a tune called “Enter The Night,” which begins with a flurry of massive drum beats, courtesy of Peter (the guys simply go by their first names). These beats continue as the band proceeds to thrash their asses off, co-vocalists and guitarists Feffe and Matte shredding away in a fashion that calls to mind old Testament and early Metallica records. It’s metal thrashing mad, to borrow a term from Anthrax. But would they have called Bombus thrash back in the glory days of Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, etc? Probably. If not, they would have called them speed metal. Not that I could ever tell the difference between speed metal and thrash. Even today, genre distinctions are often lost on me. I mean, really, what’s the point in calling a band brutal death metal instead of just death metal? To my ears, all death metal sounds pretty fucking brutal. But death metal is one thing Bombus is not. Oh, they’re heavy and their sound is often ferocious, but Feffe and Matte don’t growl or otherwise sound demonic. No, they sound like a cross between James Hetfield circa Master of Puppets and Lemmy of Motorhead circa “Ace of Spades.” There’s definitely a screaming element to their vocal style, but they don’t screech their lyrics. Rather, they just shout them out with varying degrees of aggression. It all depends on the song, on what they are singing about. Sometimes they just sound like thrash fans having a blast as they belt out some tunes, probably sipping cold beers in between verses. Other times, they sound pretty fucking angry. Let’s just say these are not guys you would want to run into in an alley. Especially if they’ve had a bad day. One thing about Bombus: they do not like back-stabbers. Not that anyone does, but listen to “The Poet and the Parrot” and hear the word “forget’ yelled over and over again after a tirade about being stabbed in the back and you’ll get it. These guys are clearly a tight unit and surely good friends and if you hurt one of them then you’ll have them all on your ass, not unlike when someone makes the grave mistake of messing with a member of the Sons of Anarchy. It’s just a hunch, but, yes, I came away from the album feeling like these guys were rock solid soldiers of metal fighting the good fight, fighting to abolish the back-stabbers and evil priests and oppressors and so forth. It makes the album perfect for when you feel like venting but don’t actually want to talk to anybody. Just put this album on and it’s like listening to Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All. Your feelings of anger will rise to the surface, surely, but then they’ll fade away as you absorb the music. This album takes you to that magical place where few albums can actually take you. Those albums you’d take to a desert island, or at least say that you would when people ask that question. Or maybe they don’t ask about desert island discs anymore. They probably ask about what you’d want on your iPod. Which is stupid because your iPod’s battery wouldn’t last very long on an island and you can’t just change its battery like a good ol’, reliable discman. But if you were loading your iPod with music for a road trip or a party with your brother rockers then this is an album you’d want to take with you. Clearly, I loved it from the first time I listened to it and I think that any self-respecting fans of thrash metal — or metal in general — would, too. Now, watch me get an e-mail from the band telling me that they’re not thrash — they’re brutal death metal. Or speed metal. Who knows. But I know I’m right about one thing: this is METAL. METAL, METAL, METAL. Somebody needs to book these guys on Gigantour or opening for Iron Maiden or even Metallica. There are a lot of people out there who think this kind of music is dead and I think many of them would be pleasantly surprised by Bombus’ music like I was. I say many of them — instead of all of them — because, let’s face it, half the people who listen to old thrash don’t even bother to listen to new music anymore. All they listen to is the “old stuff.” I guess nostalgia is their drug of choice. But I think that’s sad and pathetic. Because, really, listening to the same music over and over again, and never getting into anything new, is kind of like reading the same book over and over again, never reading any other books. Or watching a particular season of a TV show over and over again and never watching the newer episodes. I think part of you has to be dead inside for you to stop checking out new music. But you’re obviously not one of those dead people because you wouldn’t be reading music reviews if you were. So, check out this new album by Bombus, The Poet and the Parrot, and prepare to bang your head and throw up some metal horns. Thrash lives, baby, and Feffe, Matte, Peter and bassist Jonas are a brute force to be reckoned with.