Imagine if Metallica hadn’t gone shit. Imagine if the blazing energy and brain of say, Master of Puppets or …And Justice For All hadn’t been forever buried under twenty years of bear hunting and cosying up to the dark forces of reaction and mega wealth. Imagine if they kept all the shitnails speed thrash sensibility and the intent but also developed a wry humanity. Imagine it. Just for a second. And you might not be a million miles away from this recent release by Minnesota’s Class Of 86.
Played with a washer-tight freshness and vigour that squeaks and squeals through all ten tracks, this middle American shredfest is – to all intents and purposes – good, honest thrash metal that has remembered that it has soul. Thrash metal still possessed of eyes to see the raging clusterfuck that our world has become out beyond the obligatory circle pit and the merch stand.
There’s happily a few bands yet ploughing this politically conscious neo-metalcore furrow. In the UK we have the wonderful Grand Collapse and a few others. Propaghandi are still going strong, releasing and touring with a stoical determination that belies the number of times they have been around the agitational heavy music block. And Class of 86 stand easily alongside any of them. Vocally and in song structure terms you could also draw comparisons with one of Bad Religion’s better albums. You could, but only if you’d never heard that excruciating Christmas album they did last year. After that, nothing gets compared to Bad Religion any more. And in any case, Future on Fire is equally thick with ideas both creative and subversive as it is with solos and clever instrumentation. And a lot more people should know about it than they appear to. If just one person in a thousand that bought Death Magnetic listened to this then, well, the world would be a better place.