Thrash music is meant to be corrosive ...
When done right, it's so acidic it could melt steel. Pasadena Napalm Division wields that fire on its self-titled debut album for minus HEAD Records. Among the Texas group's grizzled and gritty ranks are genre vets Kurt Brecht [vocals] of the legendary D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles), Greg Martin [guitar], Scott Sevall [guitar], and Ronnie Guyote [drums] of Dead Horse, and Bubba [bass]. They're a formidable bunch of badasses who know their way around a blast beat and a punk-i-fied speed metal riff. Once this bomb drops, everything else will go up in flames.
In 2011, the initial charges were planted for Pasadena Napalm Division to explode. When Dead Horse took a break, Martin, Sevall, and Guyote approached Brecht about jamming together. Under the name of Crud Cutter, they played their first show. Soon after, they cut a demo as Pasadena Napalm Division and began raising a whole lot of hell at local venues around Houston. In the process, they yielded what Brecht appropriately refers to as a "natural" sound.
"It's what came naturally," he explains. "This music makes sense for us. It's thrash-y and heavy. For me, the writing process resembled the process in D.R.I. It was super collaborative, and everybody was really on the same page."
They lock into a tight and tough assault on the first single, "100 Beers with a Zombie". Despite the undead reference, there's nothing slow about it. Kicking off with a punk beat and steamrolling into a buzzsaw of guitars, its unbridled energy proves propulsive.
"It's about a lost weekend Scott spent with our roadie 'Zombie Ray' at his house," laughs Brecht. "We try to tell stories within the landscape of fast, focused songs."
Meanwhile, "Murder The Bearded Lady Killer" begins with a creeping bass line before unleashing a torrent of thrash fireworks. It also boasts a vocal duet with Tony Foresta of 21st century thrash upstarts Municipal Waste. Brecht goes on, "Tony wrote all new words and recorded the main vocals himself. I got to sing backups on that one. I like his version much better than mine. The different version made it sound better and did the music justice." The band name and accompanying over-the-top graphic novel-style imagery also do the music justice. "During the Vietnam War, Dow Chemical made napalm at their division in Pasadena, TX," the singer explains. "For those of you who don't know, napalm is jellied gasoline for dropping in bombs. It fit with what we wanted to do sonically." Ultimately, this isn't just a new beginning for the members of Pasadena Napalm Division; it's a new dawn for thrash as a whole. "We fill a certain niche," concludes Brecht. "Nobody is going to mistake us for some other band."