AGGRAVATOR – UNSEEN REPULSIONS (Empire Records / Plastic Head)

Review by Stefan

Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, Aggravator releases their latest EP on a Belgian label, Empire Records. The band was formed in 2008 by vocalist/rhythm guitarist Derek Jones and drummer Mike Cortes. There have been some personnel changes over the years, nowadays Aggravator still functions as a trio, two founders and Tristan Hernandez (lead guitars/bass). So far, their discography looks like this: “Born In Uniform (Demo 2012), “Age Of Combat” (EP 2012), “Populace Destructor (full-length 2014), “Sterile Existence” (full-length (2016), “Aggravator” (EP 2019) which saw daylight as an honor to lead guitarist Jesse Lopez who passed away in 2018. Fully dedicated to Metal in general, another great musician is gone but will absolutely not be forgotten! This exceptionally sad setback also brought the end of Aggravator as a four-member band. I would have liked to mention that the band have performed many times in both the US and Europe.

Finally, I have the honor of introducing their latest EP “Unseen Repulsions” to all of you. The genre that Aggravator brings to light these days can be situated in the Death/Thrash Metal genre. No overpowering chaos and uncontrolled noise, “Unseen Repulsions” sounds harsh and aggressive but my gut feeling and knowledge of the subject allows me to mention that these guys knows how to finish everything in detail. Frantic, sometimes classic Heavy Metal oriented riffage and fluent leads speaks to my imagination, bass and drum lines find the necessary support from each other by maintaining good interaction among themselves… about the vocals, Derek Jones’ voice sounds chillingly good, aggressive to the bone. Perfectly suited for a Death/Thrash Metal band !

It’s best to compare Aggravator to other bands in the Death/Thrash Metal genre like Invocator, Legion Of The Damned, Devastation, Morbid Saint, Demolition Hammer, Malevolent Creation, Demented Ted and stuff. A curious fact is that beyond five new songs, there is also a cover on the EP, not the first one you would expect. I’m talking about “Bounty Hunter” by Southern Rock fame Molly Hatchet. I like Southern Rock myself and  think Aggravator has made a bold attempt to pull this off. Of course you can’t emulate a band like Molly Hatchet but at least, it’s a surprise of stature and Aggravator’s version doesn’t leave me unmoved !

If you’re looking for well-crafted Death/Thrash you’re in for a treat with “Unseen Repulsions”. In my opinion, those into good oiled Bay Area Thrash Metal should also look forward to this product. Once again a band in my opinion that deserves much more attention, underrated and totally unjustified, what a shame ! Aggravator online: / /  /

My rating: 87/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)