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Unborn Again

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Album Review

The thrash metal revival of the late ‘00s was instigated primarily by brand new bands whose members weren't even alive back in 1983, but their archaeological efforts inevitably convinced several of the long-extinct dinosaurs they worshiped to rattle their skeletons back into fighting shape, and come show these whippersnappers how to mosh — old-school. 2009 marked the return of New Jersey's Whiplash, whose classic, triple-Tony lineup — vocalist/guitarist Tony Portaro, bassist Tony Bono, and drummer Tony Scaglione — had at last reconvened to record the Thrashback album ten years earlier, but quickly disbanded amid widespread indifference to its release, and then tragically lost Bono to a fatal heart attack in 2002. Scaglione, too, declined to participate in this latest resurrection, thus forcing Portaro to recruit new bassist Rich Day and Scaglione's original mid-‘80s replacement, Joe Cangelosi, for the recording of Whiplash's seventh studio album, Unborn Again. This came wrapped with a very ‘80s front cover illustration depicting a naughty metal maiden standing before a Coney Island-style amusement park from hell (or perhaps simply from the '80s!), and seemingly promising to take listeners on a white-knuckle ride around the ol' Cyclone — king of roller coasters. Which it does, but perhaps it's not the ride that most fans were expecting, since its conductors keep most songs at a mid-paced metallic pounding (see "Swallow the Slaughter," "Firewater," "Hook in Mouth," etc.) quite unlike Whiplash's vintage frenzy. Luckily, when the band does decide to open up the throttle and simply gun it down the freeway on frantic thrashers like "Pitbulls in the Playground," "Feeding Frenzy," and the staccato-riff masterpiece "Float Face Down," it's like those 20-odd years separating the present from the band's "glory days" never happened. (A cover of Montrose's "I've Got the Fire" is another nice touch.) And since repeating themselves would have only earned the members of Whiplash even more complaints from impossible-to-please fans, they're better off diversifying as much as they please on Unborn Again, much as they did their mid-period albums, and then let the chips fall where they may.

Biography

Formed: 1983 in New Jersey

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Perhaps best remembered for consisting of three guys named Tony: Tony Portaro (vocals, guitar), Tony Bono (bass), and Tony Scaglione, as well as the fact that the latter temporarily replaced drummer Dave Lombardo in Slayer during his first, fleeting split from the group in 1987, New Jersey thrashers Whiplash never achieved more than local cult success for their efforts. Naming themselves after the legendary Metallica song that virtually defines the thrash metal genre, Whiplash formed in late 1983...
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Unborn Again, Whiplash
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