Upside Down


If we try an objective examination, we would say that the death of Thrash Metal […]
By Yiannis Doukas
September 24, 2009
Urto - Upside Down album cover

If we try an objective examination, we would say that the death of Thrash Metal in the late 80s came for several reasons. Some things make circles or just bands jump into the scene 'cause of the trend (back in those days) and soon enough they're gone. One the other hand, very important - in my opinion - was the whole transition to a more technical style of playing by many bands, maybe for expanding their musical horizons or just to prove their instrumental skills; we should also consider the fact that many bands lost all this anger and mania that had as teenagers. The main point is that Thrash Metal abandoned its punk roots. And, yes, these roots could not define 100% the genre but for the majority of the scene back then the whole feeling and the attitude had gone forever. Of course this new style, called techno Thrash? - gave some very good albums but it didn't last too long.
Was this entire prologue necessary? Here we have the debut of the Italians URTO, a band that plays a Thrash thing close to the above mentioned patterns. Influences come mostly from METALLICA (Cliff Burton's presence is more than clear in the beginning of The Dilemma Remains) with the spaghetti Thrashers looking at the ...And Justice... album. The riffing is Bay Area-based and the rhythm guitars are worshipping all-time guitarists like Hetfield, Mustaine and their children (for example Jon Schaffer). Include to all these a modern touch of NEVERMORE, the technical playing from FORBIDDEN and the very good vocals that are a mix of Chuck Billy, Hetfield and Belladonna (especially in Free Will State Of Health which is a bombastic song - you will gonna hit your heads to the walls to this one).
In skill's points they are perfect. The rhythm section is fantastic with a bassist eluding the standard playing. The solos are also good enough and I repeat the riffing, although a little bit single-dimensioned, will transform your necks to accordion. Much impressive are their lyrics too, speaking mostly about social things in a philosophical point of view. Reflecting our era's darkness, the spiritual asphyxia that every human lives in the big cities, also underlining the rebellion's solution and freedom's value.
URTO is the best Italian band I have heard this year and, although their Thrash Metal is not exactly my style, they are more than interesting. It will be good if Metal fans show more attention to underground bands because, most times, their music is much better than the high advertised plastic cow-shit. I will also give them some extra points because every time I was listening to them my mind was traveling to bands like ANACRUSIS and albums like Suffering Hour.

7 / 10


"Upside Down" Track-listing:

The Dilemma Remains
Remote Control Seizure
Free Will State Of Health
Mind Forged Manacles
The Second Coming
The World Upside Down
Requiem For Brainwork

Urto Lineup:

Mimmo Saladino - Guitars
Francesco Gioia - Bass
Giuseppe Campisi - Drums
Giovanni Labita - Guitars
Alessandro Olivo - Vocals

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