QUASARBORN - A Pill Hard To Swallow

Quasarborn - A Pill Hard To Swallow

10 songs
49:24 minutes
***** ****


Two years ago, Serbian thrash metal band was left by all of its members save the bassist. The deserters went on to found Quasarborn, a band that was supposed to sound more technical than their previous outfit. The first album The Odyssey To Room 101 came out in 2018, and while it offered a solid slab of metal, I was slightly disappointed because I was just expecting a little more.

Maybe the band shared my opinion, because not even two years later, the quartet is back with its second longplayer A Pill Hard To Swallow, and the musicians worked really hard on this astonishing sophomore effort. The old school thrash elements are still there, but they have been refined with tons of melodic and progressive elements. The opener Mamula, named after a fortress prison in the Adriatic Sea, is still a rather straightforward and concise thrasher that reminds from the guitar chops of Exodus, whereas the vocals are surprisingly melodic, and enchant especially with its high and yet not too clean vocals during the unforgettable chorus. Up next is the title track, which is maybe melodically less accessible but shows the band from a more technical side that will appeal to the progressive metal fans out there. More greatness follows with Bastion, a song that starts with a weird acoustic guitar part reminding of Bon Jovi circa Wanted Dead Or Alive before turning into a brainy thrasher with a driving rhythm section and another top class chorus. On Identity Catharsis, Quasarborn become even catchier, sounding like Queen trying their hand at progressive thrash metal. Amazing, really! Atlas is also quite melodic, whereas Nothing is a more complex track with possible groove metal and djent elements. The albumís magnum opus is the nine-minute-long Stalemate With Suicide, which starts as a semi-ballad, before the instruments pick up the pace while the vocals remain hauntingly melancholic. In the middle of the song, we get a totally unexpected break performed on trumpet and trombone, before it all turns to heady thrash again. The short instrumental The Ascent is a little breather that prepares for Clouds, another of Quasarbornís signature tracks that blends its melodic thrash metal with progressive elements, all played on an incredibly high technical level. The concluding The Humbling goes finally into more complicated territories again, showing that the quartet on its second album has found the right balance betweenhighly melodic prog thrash and rhythmically more challenging material.

Although I prefer their melodic stuff, due to the fact that the band really excels at that kind of songwriting, I am also grateful for the less immediate songs that make sure that A Pill Hard To Swallow turns out to be an incredibly varied album that should appeal to fans of melodic and progressive thrash metal alike. Quasarborn have chosen to remain an independent band, and considering how well they do on their own, itís understandable that they donít need the support of a label that might dilute their artistic vision. I am really positively surprised at the vitality with which Quasarborn have returned on their second album.

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