In a landscape of identikit thrash bands Gama Bomb have always stood out. Unapologetically Irish, with lyrics mixing humour and social commentary and a reputation for legendary beer-soaked stage shows, they’ve never made a secret of enjoying what they do.
Gama Bomb formed in 2002, bonding over a shared love of retro comics, movies and old thrash metal cassettes. Now in their sixteenth year, thrash metal’s arch-geeks return with their sixth studio album Speed Between The Lines, out on AFM Records on October 12th 2018.
Check out the latest lyric video of a track from the album, “666teen”, below. It really does show all that is great about Gama Bomb.
The album’s cover is inspired by sci-fi and horror paperback novels of the 70s and 80s, while the tracks boast a rich, rounded production that brings to mind classic late 80s thrash.
It’s also a kind of victory for the band. After suffering a vocal injury in 2012 vocalist Philly underwent surgery and years of rehabilitation – but now, after intensive training under one of London’s best opera coaches, Byrne’s vocals have returned to their shrieking best.
Gama Bomb are using that voice to deliver sharper commentary than ever: Speed Between The Lines delivers cutting takes on everything from the growing poverty gap (“We R Going 2 Eat U”), to the rise of right wing populism (“Alt-Reich”), environmental disaster (“World Gone To Hell”) and the conformity of social media (“Stay Rotten”). Of course this being Gama Bomb there are also songs paying tribute to Kurt Russell, listening to Motörhead and paying people to kick you in the balls.
For the first time ever, Speed Between The Lines also unleashes the lead guitar talents of both Dixon and Roche to deliver some of modern thrash’s most face-melting solos.
The album was produced by longtime collaborator Scott Atkins (Cradle of Filth, Savage Messiah) with cover art by airbrush supremo Jarred Hageman AKA Chrome And Lightning and Rory McGuigan (Villagers). McGuigan has also brought the aesthetic of old paperback novels to bear on Speed Between The Lines, creating a tattered retro ‘dust jacket’ for each song in the album’s booklet.
Gama Bomb formed in Newry, Northern Ireland in 2002. Since then Paul Caffrey (drums), Domo Dixon and John Roche (guitars) have joined childhood friends Joe McGuigan (bass) and Philly Byrne (vocals) to complete the group.
Touring on public transport and scraping together pocket money to record, they self-released their debut album Survival Of The Fastest (2006). The band were soon swept up in a MySpace-fuelled revival of the thrash genre, signing to Earache Records to release Citizen Brain (2008) and Tales from the Grave in Space (2009) before joining the AFM roster.
The Terror Tapes (2013) and Untouchable Glory (2015) followed, albums inspired by classic horror and exploitation movies respectively.