Fans of huge Prog epics should look away now as Insanity Alert’s third full length, 666-Pack, is the antithesis of all you hold dear. Twenty-one tracks packed into a tight thirty-two minutes means Insanity Alert don’t have the time to kick their heals and, instead, get their collective heads down and smash out half an hour of whirlwind Crossover Thrash.
Taking their lead from those masters of violent party anthems, Municipal Waste, with more than a smattering of D.R.I., the Austrian four-piece signify their intention by beginning album opener, the instrumental Thirstkiller, with the sound of a beer being popped before setting off a relentless tirade of guitar, bass and drum. Lead single, The Body of the Christ is the Parasite, spits vitriol at the institution of religion and is the kind of track Glenn Benton would write if he were to take Deicide in a more light- hearted direction.
Songs like All Mosh / No Brain, Windmilli Vanilli and I Come/ I Fuck Shit Up/ I Leave are the fairly brainless pit-fodder you’d expect, full of big riffs, cacophonous drums and beered-up singalong choruses.
But there is a darkness to 666-Pack that is at odds with the party atmosphere of the music. Echoes of Death deals with the idea of a caged life spent in mindless conformity; Why So Beerious? with what happens when a few harmless beers become more than a way to unwind at the end of a day; One-Eye is King (In the Land of the Blind) a warning of the media-centric culture we all passively consume without question. All serious subjects, but not delivered in manner which would not prevent anyone cracking a lid and heading down into the middle of the pit.
The Thrash revival of a few years ago saw some of the old school coming back and some new young pups vying for the crown. Many of those bands dropped off the radar but Insanity Alert have been playing the long-game and with 666-Pack, only their third release since the debut in 2014, they seem to have used the time wisely. A regularly featuring on the festival circuit, and having held their own on the 2018 Persistence Tour against heavyweights Hatebreed, Madball and Terror, appears to have seasoned Insanity Alert and allowed them to deliver an album full of pit-fillers-in-the-making while retaining a level of darkness often overlooked in the genre.
There’s no Stairway to Heaven here, no Shine On You Crazy Diamond, no 2112. But then again, Zeppelin, Floyd and Rush aren’t legendary for their circle-pits and didn’t record a song called Saturday Grind Fever in which they re-constitute a Bee-Gees classic from the point of view of an axe-welding psychopath. I wish can only Pink Floyd would have recorded that one!