No amount of time can be considered too long, at least not in the surreal, timeless world of rock and roll. With bands touring into their 60s, or continuing on with only one original member, or even playing when a key member has passed on, the constant throughout is the music. It’s because of this that the history of Turkish thrash metallers Presage, though incredible, really doesn’t surprise me. The band originally formed in 1985, and stood among the pioneering metal bands in the country with their brand of thrash metal. The members in 1989 decided to go their separate ways, and Presage was on hold, for a long time.
Fast forward twenty plus years, to 2010, where bassist Alper Turek and guitarist Antar Turgay decided to reform Presage with a newer, more progressive vision of thrash metal in mind. By 2011, they had added the rest of the band members in the form of Fatih Korkmaz on vocals and Kutay Soysal on drums, and under the guidance of producers Tarkan Gözübüyük(Pentagram/Mezarkabul) and Cihan Barış set out to bring the Presage sound into the new millennium. The result of this near thirty year journey is the album Planet Hatred, a “collective work of all the band members, centering around a theme of solitude, despair, fear, and the predicament of humans and the world itself as a consequence”.
Planet Hatred opens with a roar, in the form of Children of the Bomb. With a few cursory notes, the song takes no time to go into full force, hard chords, pounding rhythm, and a textbook thrash metal scream. The thrash roots are very clear in the music, and Presage never strays too far from them. The song is supported by some solid drumming by Soysal, though he doesn’t push the edge, his style is clean and a perfect fit for the music. The bass is thoroughly competent, though it tended to get lost in the mix of the aggressiveness of this song. In the more subdued songs, such as Knife, it is capable of not only carrying a song, but of taking it over. In Knife, we see them also stray out from the base thrash metal roots, and venture into some more progressive realms. This really suited the individual talents of the band members well, the guitar especially, as Turgay rips of an especially impressive solo in this one. Regain Your Life is a pounding number, one that more forces itself upon the listener than is listened to. Contained within is a really smooth segment though, where the pounding has its edge taken off, and it turns into hushed rumbles and rolls. Broken Souls borders on the power ballad side, and has some highs and lows. The subtle guitar work of Turgay really shines out in this one, as he dictates the intensity of the song from moment to moment. On the downside is the vocals which seem a bit hesitant and hurried when the smoothness is needed.
In You’re Not Alone, they settle into a more hard rocking style, one which again really fits the band. Where Korkmaz slipped on Broken Souls, he makes up for it here, this song plays into his strengths. The song is braced by some intensely catchy riff work by Turgay, and bridged wonderfully by the rhythm elements. The Flame is a straight forward metal song, no excuses or apologies are made here, they just drop into the pocket and rock this one out. This is the song where I would strain my neck at a live show, wishing I still had my metal length hair of my youth. Abandon opens up with an eastern ethnic tone to the rhythm elements, and again, the song more rolls than pounds, with an occasional burst only to settle into the groove again, an effective and catchy song for sure. The album closes out with the title track, Planet Hatred, which opens up with a wonderfully quirky and progressive guitar riff that quickly morphs into a grinding and harsh riff fest. There is almost a tone of disgust theme wise in the song’s lyrics, and Korkmaz’s vocal style fits the theme perfectly. His tone in this one just drips venom all over the song, surely accomplishing what they were shooting for. A solid instrumental section with some serious head banging moments leads into the album’s closing, as the bombs rain down and the guitar distorts out of the scene.
Overall, Planet Hatred is a solid album of thrash metal, with quite a few very pleasant surprises contained within. The barriers they wanted to push through are surely weakened after this one, and their next effort, if they follow the path they are walking, should surely blow them away. The years took away nothing from their ass kicking edge though, this album has it in force.