Galicia - Precipice (Hessian Firm)

Comments about a band's 'enthusiasm' or 'energy' often come with the implicit suggestion that something else is lacking—technical proficiency, production quality, take your pick. We'd do better to think about enthusiasm as a skill unto itself, at the very least comparable to 'atmosphere' or any of the other much-discussed, but ill-defined topoi in Bandcamp comments. Galicia's Precipice showcases all the ways a buoyant affect can structure what might otherwise be a totally impossible mélange of war-metal grit and falsetto-heavy thrash/speed metal. You're almost not sure what you're hearing, at first, when the opening's trashcan-arpeggio fuckery is pierced by a screeching hawk, mid-swoop upon some fated vermin. Unlike Demiser, whose successful take on speed-metal influences rested in tight unimpeachable compositions, chaos is the through line on Precipice, and the cookie-monster grumbles and raspy ejaculations work less like typical vocals, than like assurances that some subhuman thing, somewhere, is twirling in the whirlwind of random matter. It is this glee that justifies the frantic quality to Galicia’s tumbling take on thrash, which in the best way, sounds almost like it's being fast-forwarded on a tape recorder. There are some doomy openings and other (barely) mid-tempo reprieves, like the bridge on "Refract the Nonsubmerged." But the high points come when the sploopy bass joins the rave (see the opening bop to "Becoming Entropy"), so the music can descend into what I can only describe as a roller coaster ride next to someone in the middle of their monthly lycanthropic metamorphosis. Galicia haven't decided whether they're man or beast, war metal or thrash, but it really really feels like they're enjoying the best of both worlds.