Review by Felix on July 30, 2020.
Generally speaking, line-up changes are something very ordinary that do not affect the appearance or the success of a band. A formation has a new bassist? Okay, eh… what was the name of the old one? Everybody can be replaced – but as always, exceptions confirm the rule. Zetro did never perform badly, but Paul Baloff (R.I.P.) sang in a class of his own. Jason Newsted and his successor are surely excellent musicians, but the vibes of Cliff Burton (R.I.P.) cannot be reproduced. And in the case of Onslaught, we are confronted with a new vocalist who tries to follow in the footsteps of Sy Keeler, the brilliant singer who left Onslaught. The best albums of the band are closely connected with his name (The Force, Killing Peace, Sounds of Violence), the worst one was released after his first departure. Steve Grimmett and the other guys jumped on stage with the lukewarm In Search of Sanity and the result was a disaster. 18 years of silence followed.
Thank God, this time the once fickle band did not modify its style. The music on Generation Antichrist is aligned with the material of the albums the more or less legendary group released since 2007. But I miss Sy. The new dude sounds solid yet interchangeable and the re-recorded version of 'A Perfect Day to Die' shows blatantly that you cannot buy charisma at the store next door. Sy's voice gave the original version the final touch, now I am listening to a song with stirring riffing and unimpressive vocals. However, the music itself has a more than satisfying degree of aggressive power, the conservative song structures work, the drums motivate the guitars to high velocity and headbanging is only recommended to those of you who can be happy about their very stable health. I am slightly surprised about the comparatively short playtime of 38 minutes, but that’s no big problem. I also do not want to grumble too much about the sound, even though the album is not far away from a slightly sterile appearance. Onslaught's transparent and clear sound does not cross the line into the synthetic regions and, of course, that's a good thing.
The five-piece is not totally immune against self-quotation. For example, 'Empires Fall' and the beginning of the (very strong) title track show trace elements of 'Code Red' and further sharp riffs seem to celebrate their second life, but at the end of the day, everything remains in acceptable regions. Given this situation, it is all the more enjoyable that songs like 'Bow Down to the Clown' or 'Addicted to the Smell of Death' work immediately. These pieces are typical Onslaught rockets that can cause a long-lasting fire. Moreover, the entire material boasts with dynamic and energy. This is definitely no output of a band that has begun to bore itself, although the stodgy artwork indicates something different. So, all in all, the band is still in good, sometimes even in very good form. And, as mentioned above, line-up changes are no big thing… but maybe Sy Keeler likes to come back?
Rating: 8.5 out of 10123