As you might suspect, Smashed In the Face With a Fistful of Bricks is not the feel-good album of the summer. With lockstep drumming, ultra-dry production, and vocals that waver between a choking victim and Choking Victim, Buried at Birth stays firmly within the boundaries of thrash metal. Thrash metal is not about feeling good. So, the question remains: Is Smashed the feel-like-a-German-shepherd-in-a-police-uniform-waving-a-machine-gun album of the summer?
Kind of. It's definitely hard to listen to in that exhilarating, universally aggressive way that well-done thrash can be. There are moments, like the manic chorus of the title track, when Smashed makes you feel like you could overthrow the state through biting. That transcendent hostility is thrash's aesthetic and physical goal: the feeling of being a conduit for something. Too often, though, it's hard to tell which song you're listening to, and the admirable synch between drums and guitar on the first track becomes monotony by the fifth. Will it bang your head? Yes. But with their rigid adhesion to form, BaB also risks putting a crick in your neck.
Buried at Birth plays the Zootown Arts Community Center Thursday, June 30, at 9 PM. $5.