Album Review: Create a Kill – “Summoned to Rise”

(Good) thrash ain’t noise pollution

So, two ex-Malevolent Creation drummers from two completely separate eras of the legendary death metal powerhouse—Alex Marquez (1992-1994; also of Solstice, ex-Demolition Hammer) and Gus Rios (2010-2014; Gruesome, ex-Resurrection)—unite forces. Kinda novelty-ish as it stands, but wait! There’s a twist: Marquez is on vocals for the first time in three decades of Metal Militia service, Rios adds guitar and bass to his job description, and a bevy of extreme music luminaries—ranging from Dirk Verbeuren (Megadeth, Soilwork) and Tobias Gustafsson (Cut Up, Vomitory) to Daniel Gonzalez (Possessed, Gruesome) and perpetual motion metal machine Matt Harvey (Exhumed, Gruesome, Expulsion)—contribute talents to various degrees and in sundry capacities. That’s an interesting gumbo no matter how you spice it, yet also feels a bit compositionally precarious—to stretch the metaphor, a feast concocted in a kitchen of whim-worshiping chefs who have switched hats and abandoned long-standing specialties.

The verdict? Fear not—Rios and Marquez got this. Summoned to Rise features some of the fastest, catchiest, darkest, meanest, smartest, most intricate thrash fucking metal to come down the pike in years. No letup. No duds. Just a fiery, eponymous opening volley, and then one killer track after another straight on through the final assault of bonus track “Flesh, Blood and Stone,” a fist-raised tribute to the late, great Malevolent Creation frontman Brett Hoffman (1967-2018).

Speaking of that shared nexus, though shades of Retribution and Invidious Dominion are not difficult to discern, Create a Kill are decidedly their own beast, fusing elements of Reign in Blood, Pleasure to Kill, Slaughter in the Vatican and Bonded by Blood onto that existing DNA. A homage neither stale nor predictable, in other words. And the title is as apropos for the metal lifers for whom this album is clearly intended as it is for the demons on its cover.