Lets set the record straight: as much as famous metal musicians would have us believe otherwise, the rise of Nirvana did not precipitate the demise of thrash metal, the thrilling heavy metal sub-genre launched by Metallica, Exodus, Megadeth, and Slayer. Most likely, the musics sudden erosion occurred from within. And Mantic Ritual clearly felt the pain. The bands production values, guitar riffs, and lyrics are all micro-tailored so that its album, Executioner, may as well have been recorded 25 years ago, during the time when the music was still more raw than progressive and had yet to surge in popularity. Hell, its a surprise the label didnt airbrush some acne into the band photos to mimic the back cover of Metallicas Kill Em All. By presenting thrash as an embalmed museum piece, Mantic Ritual sheds zero light on why this most vital of forms barely evolved past 1993. But, of course, fans who pine for the glory days of leather and jean jackets will throw their horns up anyway. Like Twinkies, at least you know exactly what youre going to get. With Pro-Pain, Sworn Enemy, Sojourner, Crooks to Kings.