Lost Society is one of those bands who comes along every handful of years and makes you sit up in your chair and say ‘let’s see what happens here.’ The band’s talent and clear understanding of thrash as we know it was so evident on their debut “Fast Loud Death” that they were practically on the verge of being anointed the Next Big Thing. So with mounting anticipation, the world awaits the forthcoming storm of the Finns’ second effort, “Terror Hungry.”
One need not get farther than the cover art to realize that this is a different Lost Society than we saw just a year ago. The hot-rodding, cartoonish Death that was featured so prominently on the cover of their debut is also on the cover of “Terror Hungry”…beheaded, presumably killed by the knife-wielding maniac who has his sights set on an amusement park. It’s a clear message by the band – this effort is direr, more serious and designed to put the band’s ‘fun’ image on the back burner.
“Terror Hungry” doesn’t lack for loud moments of thrash mastery, as the band continues to assimilate and then synthesize the lessons learned a generation ago by Anthrax, Testament and Metallica. That last name is the most important one, for while it’s become taboo to make a comparison to the world’s most famous metal band in a favorable way, Lost Society channels a lot of the ferocity that so characterized the mighty Met’s early releases. There’s an awful lot of “Fight Fire with Fire” running the length of “Terror Hungry,” beginning from the jump with “Game Over.”
But there’s more to it than just a passing resemblance to the great legends of old. The teeth-grinding crunchiness of the guitar tone and the visceral, nonstop song pacing speak to a level of thrash understanding that eludes many contemporary thrash acts. Even if the execution is flawed in parts (hold that thought,) Lost Society tries to close the gap by sheer force of will. The spontaneity of a song like “Snowroad Blowout,” which is all bite and vinegar backed up by a strong solo and shouted gang chorus, exemplifies the band’s effort to be all things thrash to all people.
As if there needed to be more evidence, there are plenty more severe thrash crushers to be had, as the natural rhythm and cadence of “Attaxic” makes it nigh impossible to not at least nod your head while playing it. This is one of those masterful moments that only thrash can produce – a riff that is allowed to breathe, and in so doing, becomes increasingly infectious as it rolls along. These are the moments where Lost Society makes you believe they could write the next “Master of Puppets” somewhere down the line.
Yet, “Terror Hungry” is missing something. It’s hard to quantify the value of a sense of fun, but in the process of eliminating it, Lost Society has left a piece of themselves behind. Yes, the album finishes with the three song ridiculousness of “Brewtal Awakening,” “Mosh It Up” and “Wasted After Midnight,” but it somehow doesn’t feel as authentic as the aura of “Fast Loud Death” did. The narrative of Lost Society has changed, which isn’t necessarily bad, but this new, darker identity never quite gains solid purchase in the same way.
Second to that, one of the prominent and most promising elements of the debut record was Lost Society’s talent for playing the pocket, never allowing the rhythm of their hook riffs to fall outside a given song’s margin. By comparison, there are isolated moments on “Terror Hungry” where Lost Society’s attempt to pull out all the stops leaves songs like “Overdosed Brain” messy and directionless. One can’t help but walk away from “Terror Hungry” with the feeling that some of Lost Society’s musical discipline has been eroded somehow, as this record plugs in a handful of five minute tracks (“Tyrant Takeover” being one,) that don’t really go anywhere.
In the final analysis, there are still plenty of bright spots on “Terror Hungry,” and the good outweighs the bad. Nevertheless, it’s going to take a third album for Lost Society to see if they can blend what worked on their first pressing with what worked on their second.