EXPANDER - Endless Computer
December 12, 2017, a month ago
(Nuclear War Now!)
This debut release from Austin, Texas unit Expander is an overt push to expand the boundaries of thrash. Lyrically, the concept of the album revolves around the attempts by a shapeless cosmic entity (a result of unchecked technological advancement) to seek control over all atomic matter in the universe. The futuristic album art also successfully reflects the experimental concept. Musically, this is a merging of the direct harshness of thrash with quirky hardcore riffage. Specifically, it's like having someone with thrash sensibilities twisting out their own interpretation of what Snapcase should sound like.
For example, compare Snapcase's "Coagulate" (from their End Transmission album of 2002) with this release's "R-Type 2 Civilisation" and the comparison becomes clear. Vocally they replace Snapcase's clean/somewhat whiney vox with incoherent throaty belches (akin to Impaled Nazarene's Mika Luttinen). While the band's aim to expand the boundaries of thrash is laudable, the end result here is somewhat muted by a general sameness that sets in over the 36 minutes of the release. Expander have stumbled onto something here, but will need to refine the message come next release.