In Search of Sanity by English thrashers Onslaught is back! The almost-30 year old album had a reissue in 2006; the now remastered album tightens the screws on what was an already epic album, and gives maximum thrashinity/nostalgia for the past-metal days.

Thanks to John Mitchell’s mastering skills (err remastering), the behemoth that is this album is now more defined. It’s kind of like bowling without gutter bumpers; it’s the same game but more dangerous and more satisfying. Which is hugely apparent in the drums and bass. The engine room breathes, giving huge power to the songs and album overall. With this foundation set, the guitars have so much more guts and meat to them compared to the 1989 original recording (not that it didn’t have power). With the ’80s thrash treble tamed on the rhythm tracks, the midrange push allows for more defined riffing and greater clarity in solos. Which is the key to the whole remaster, a slight compression to the mix has brought everything forward. And, through clever EQing each instrument has more precision and definition in the mix.

The album itself is still the same epic journey that it was almost 30 years ago. Opening with the five-minute instrumental soundscape ‘Asylum,’ the listener is almost, almost, tricked into a mindfulness like state… In barges Jack Nicholson from The Shining (Heeeere’s Johnny!), and the listener gets a faceful of metal! The riffening begins.

And begin it does. If we cut the two covers ‘Let There Be Rock,’ ‘Confused’ and the instrumental opening, then the song lengths range from six and a half minutes to the near 13 minute epic, ‘Welcome to Dying’—there is a lot to listen to. Every song has tasty melodies and riff biscuits, more solos than a 24-pack, and the soaring vocals of Steve Grimmet piping his lyrics for the existential, mentally deteriorated, and war-wisened listeners. While the fan favourites of ‘Lightning War’ and ‘Blood upon the Ice’ are solid numbers, ‘In Search of Sanity’ is still a killer opener. Followed by the crowd-chanting ‘Shellshock,’ the listener is in for a metalgasmic treat.

Given the digital climate of the thrash revival at the moment, Onslaught’s remaster is a breath of fresh air. The overly defined digital guitars are gone, and the flat lifeless trigger drums don’t exist. What the listener gets is a living breathing album. What the listener gets, is an album reminding us to not get lost in the details and enjoy the damn songs.

Rating: 9 outta 10 devils horns.

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Photo: Supplied