Steve Gaines and company got together in 2004 to put out a record as an outlet. Demand then greatly exceeded expectations and a band came together as a unique unit. What came out of this delicious mixture is a Thrash Metal band that is a legacy statement about how dominant the West Coast Thrash Metal scene has been for over 40 years. This band is a conglomeration of masterful musicians. They have toured with and played in bands that not only established the genre, they have refined and defined the genre over and over. Virtual Sympathy is just the latest in a series of brutal albums that have set the tone for an entire style of music.

Band Members:

  • Steve Gaines – Vocals/Guitars
  • Albert Gonzalez – Guitars
  • Eric Bryan – Bass
  • Rob Alaniz – Drums

September 1, 2023


  1. The Crushing Wheel
  2. The Enemy Within
  3. Ice Pick
  4. Prevail Sympathy
  5. Virtue Signals
  6. Colors of the Dark
  7. Absent Sin
  8. The Bleeding
  9. Into This World
  10. Waiting on the End
  11. Never Fade Away

Anger As Art is exactly what you would expect from their name; brutality with refinement. Sludgy, Doom-laden guitar work with harsh vocals start the record off beautifully in “The Crushing Wheel.” The intro segment is slow, heavy, dark, and quite moving. The fade out with just the bass elevates the song to new heights. That is a bold ending and it works very well.

Following that, “The Enemy Within” takes a faster, brasher tone. The guitars are rapid-fire and are supported by a bombastic rhythm section meant to punish your neck Slayer style. This is West Coast Thrash for the modern era. The vocals are not like anything you will hear from “The Big 4.” It is 2023, those guys are still legends, but they are no longer the “Be All, End All” that Anthrax once alluded to. This is a new breed, a new beast. They have stepped up the game and created a new blend of Thrash meant to carry us into the future, not relive the past.

Please do not misunderstand, I admire the old school and their continued influence on music. However, if you listen to “Prevail Sympathy,” you will hear something new, some beyond what the originators have done and continue to do. This track showcases guitar work unlike anything from the 80s and an evolution of the Charlie Benante blast beats into something that is uniquely Rob Alaniz.

Anger As Art fuses other styles into their unique blend of Thrash Metal, integrating Doom/Sludge and Death Metal to make sure you get more than just a standard record with an established pattern. “Colors of The Dark” is as fast and frenetic as “Absent Sin” is slow and sludgy. The contrast is beautiful, adding to the appeal of the album across genres. Anger As Art can, and does, write across a spectrum of styles, playing each with equal skill, crafting an album that hits more than one mark.

There is a lot to like on this album. Interesting differences in tone and tempo from song to song keep everything light and fresh, which is exactly what we all want from our Thrash Metal, right? The fast, the slow, the heavy, the sludgy; it all works together in a sonic experience that will leave you wanting more.

MZ Ratings:


  •             Guitars – 9
  •             Rhythms – 9
  •             Vocals – 8
  • Songwriting – 8
  • Production – 9

Overall – 8.60