Alcatraz Line up: 2023
The Belgian underground is a seemingly inexhaustible fount of talent, as illustrated once again by Schizophrenia. The quartet have a strong affinity with the more extreme side of (death) metal and call to mind the likes of Slayer, early Sepultura, Demolition Hammer, Morbid Angel and Carcass. This young band formed in 2016 and in 2020 they unleashed the five-track EP ‘Voices’, a banger of an initial release that is another highlight in the new wave of old school thrash metal. ‘Recollections of the Insane’, their first full-length, dropped earlier this year (2022). Independently released, it’s a high-octane blend of bone-crunching death metal and balls-to-the-wall thrash, although the latter features less prominently than on ‘Voices’. It’s an impressive statement thanks to the sparring guitars of Marty Van Kerckhoven and Romeo Promopoulos, the varied, intricate and measured stickwork of Lorenzo Vissol and the demented – and surprisingly intelligible - vocals of Ricky Mandozzi which, at times, are reminiscent of Jeff Walker’s vicious sneer. The pedal is jammed to the floor from start to finish as they rant through a series of cranium-crushing tracks with the musical dexterity of seasoned professionals. Believe it or not but these guys are as yet unsigned. Unless the metal labels of this world are in hibernation we can’t imagine they won’t be snaffled up by the time Alcatraz rolls around.