Of the twelve releases currently bearing the ESL-derived name Audiopain, only one is a full-length album. That fondness for brevity, continued on the band’s new EP, The Switch to Turn off Mankind, is a blessed gift from this Norwegian thrash-metal trio: Banging one’s head for twenty-seven minutes straight is good for the soul, not so much for the neck.
This style of Gatling gun thrash is built for speed, and Audiopain sound better and better the faster they get. Guitarist Sverre Dæhli mostly stays in wrist-blurring mode, but when the speed flags on “Termination Fields,” he just transfers the velocity into brute force, sending toxic riffs flying all over the place. Daehli hurls classic thrash sonnets (e.g. “Like the cobra’s smile/ Haunting your soul/ Paralyzing malice/ She is the snake”) in a caustic snarl that sounds like he’s got exhaust pipes for lungs; maybe he’s spent too long sucking the smoke that rises from drummer Bjarne Guntveit’s controlled double-time gallop.
Nevermind that Audiopain is following the metal playbook that Slayer and Testament wrote two decades ago. There’s nothing like a great thrash tune to get the blood pumping, and on The Switch to Turn off Mankind, Audiopain gives us six of ’em.