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If you have found this blog, it probably means you were searching for something that isn’t in the public eye. My intention is to promote awareness of artists that you would otherwise likely never know existed. If you like what you hear, support the artist by purchasing their music so that they can continue to create, and enjoy the release in the quality they intended.

Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Axis of Metal.

Yonin Bayashi – Isshoku-Sokuhatsu

Posted by T. Bawden Tuesday, 28 September 2010 2 comments


Yonin Bayashi – Isshoku-Sokuhatsu – 4.5/5
Link

With a name that literally translates to “four musicians” you could argue that this '74 debut could sound like they might be a little bland an uncreative, but instead it feels more apt as each one seems to morph into a legendary musician from the 70s to lend their touch to proceedings. And yet because they're all dealing with their own persona, trying to pinpoint precisely where their influences lie seems like a bit of a chore; their music is unquestionably psychedelic and progressive, following suit with many of the British bands at the time, but the combination of all the different sounds that come together as they meander their course results in something that feels if not wholly original then certainly refreshing to hear.

There can be no question of the abilities of the musicians, and they all manage to work their complex, multi-layered compositions as though they'd being performing together for decades and already knew precisely what style everyone else is likely to do, but it is the vocals that brings it all down a notch. That's certainly not to say that he's a bad vocalist, he's nothing of the sort to bring down the quality at all but there is that inherent language barrier; the unforgettable chorus lines of “Roundabout,” “In the Court of the Crimson King” or “Silver Machine” making the tracks all the more memorable here seem lacking as a result, and if the whole piece wasn't so jam-packed with smooth grooves, transitional passages and wailing vocals that still manage to compensate for this language barrier it could almost become problematic.

There's that Floyd-like psychedelic wave from the guitars, adding touches of McLaughlin's wandering fusion fretwork and interspersed with space-age jazzy keyboard and minimoog work that recalls the likes of Sun-Ra or Wakeman's more serene work with Yes (or if perhaps he was stoned). The bass-lines feel torn straight from Crimson's collaborations with Wettman (“Red” in particular springs to mind) and when the drums kick off and the Deep Purple solo guitars kick off, you suddenly jolt back to reality when you suddenly realise that Blackmore's singing in Japanese.

It's worth bearing in mind that the musicians were only just hitting their 20s at the time, and for a debut recording it's nothing short of mind-blowing; their career only lasted a few short years and a handful of albums resulting in them all too quickly falling into those that were forgotten. With only a couple of mis-stepped tracks that feel suddenly underwhelming coming after the two epic's that preceded it, this is one release that but for being released in the wrong country and being sung in a foreign language probably would have found it's way to the 'collectors classics' pile by now. This may not be a British prog rock supergroup but it's likely the closest you'll find.

Highlights: Omatsuri, Isshoku-Sokuhatsu

Accept – Blood of the Nations

Posted by T. Bawden Sunday, 26 September 2010 0 comments


Accept – Blood of the Nations – 4/5
Link

With fourteen years behind them since their last studio recording and the hugely disappointing 'Predator;' and with the Udo, the band's vocalist, insisting that it was to be his last time with Accept it would seem that the legendary Heavy Metal band had seen their last days. And indeed, for years that would seem true until late last year when they announced their replacement vocalist and the return of guitar virtuoso Herman Frank, and if history had taught me anything it was not to pass them off unduly; between Anthem's “Black Empire,” Heaven and Hell's phenomenal return and the knock-out solo effort from Frank just last year it would seem that if there was ever a time to make a come-back then this would be it, but sadly it's not quite all it could have been.

I kept waiting for the guitars to give off that kick that would throw me back from my seat; a hard hitting riff that would leave me dumbstruck or a solo that would have me convinced the way that Herman Frank's solo album converted me to a fan in a a single note, but it never truly comes. There are certainly momentous occasions but they often feel too similar, for the production is crisp and the resultant tone is undeniably powerful but all too often it falls into the trap of playing mid-paced, unenthusiastic and overly simplistic power chords with a few palm mutes thrown in, which is only more of a shame when you see the heights they accomplish at other times, when perhaps their mind seems to be more focussed on the matter at hand.

With the departure of the part-troll Udo Dirkschneider with his distinctive voice any newcomer to the throne would have mighty big boots to fill, and newcomer Tornillo is under no illusion of it being anything but. It is his position that has everyone turning their heads and questioning how he could replace their iconic front man, and perhaps most shockingly of all he doesn't do a half bad job of it, roaring with a ferociously hoarse snarl or smoothly sailing for the ballads; the only real complaint is not so much of his abilities but that it isn't quite a perfect fit. It still feels as though he is filling in for Udo rather than making the tracks his own and can often be accused of trying to sound as much like the former front man as much as possible, which for any less of a singer would automatically be a recipe for disaster.

In fact, the only musician I have difficulty finding fault with is the long-standing drummer who still seems to fit like a glove, not taking but a moment to find his groove with the two new additions and pummelling away; finding that simple framework that never feels unsuited or uninteresting, remaining rawly felt yet capable of punching through the instrumentation to make its presence known. A spectacular return from old school heavy metal titans? Unquestionably, but album of the year? That's taking it too far. Blood of the Nations may be their best effort in almost twenty years but this still feels like a warm-up, a practice run for the real thing, and something tells me this new line-up's best work has yet to come.

Highlights: Beat the Bastards, Locked and Loaded, Time Machine

Yousei Teikoku – Metanoia

Posted by T. Bawden Tuesday, 21 September 2010 0 comments


Yousei Teikoku – Metanoia - 4/5
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There are some genres that many consider too conflicting and simply should not be mixed (Body Count's “Rap Metal,” can stand testament to that) but I've always thought that of the abominations to music that such 'experimentation' brings, no matter how awful, can only be a representation of themselves and not the combination; essentially simply because no good music has come from one combination of genres does not prevent anything that can be categorised by them both automatically bad. To place this all into better context, Yousei Teikoku are a band of two that have combined Electronica (something between Techno and Drum and Bass to be precise) with classical music – a combination of styles likely to offend fans on both sides – and despite all my doubts have succeeded in making it work by adding a third element compatible with both: Gothic Rock.

Surprisingly, it manages to combine the strengths of each genre into one coherent piece; the drums may all be programmed but their precise aggression deftly sets the pace for the rest of the music to layer on top of, and the hard hitting bass adds an upbeat antithesis to the more delicate choral chants, violins, and synthesizers that set the classical tone like some grandiose “Phantom of the Opera” epic; filled with darkness and yet still not somehow without warmth. Coupled with the piano lines and aggressive guitar lines it rarely feels as though there's not enough going on or that the sound they've created feels thin, and yet throughout it all the elegant female vocals manage to gracefully dance over the atmosphere behind her with a melancholy gothic sadness, a delicate delivery that varies in its pace yet never fails to show a seductive innocence to be tainted.

Their influences seem to sway with each track, despite the aggressive and metallic fury of the earlier tracks, towards the end it drifts into an almost ambient like tone resulting in a release that never seems to get stuck in a rut; it all flows from one end to the other as a single coherent entity. The influences are clearly discernible but never so obtuse as to stick out; it all blends into the overarching composition and whilst it comes with definite high points, it still manages to remain an excellent short (30min) release capable of withstanding multiple listens.

Highlights: Hades: the Rise, Haitako no Hana




Yousei Teikoku – Gothic Lolita Doctrine – 3.5/5
Link

Up until the last minute I was intending to review this album, but decided upon 'metanoia' instead. As short as metanoia was, the extended run time here didn't feel as well utilised; the upbeat passages were less enthused, the slow passages less delicate and the whole release felt far more reluctant to step away from the middle-ground. Still, it's not bad and if you liked the above, this is a decent collection of some of their more upbeat works.

Winterfylleth - The Mercian Sphere

Posted by T. Bawden Monday, 20 September 2010 2 comments


Winterfylleth - The Mercian Sphere - 4.5/5
Link

Black metal as a genre certainly has come a long way from its advent, evolved if you will, and yet in this quagmire of musical influences it becomes inceasingly refreshing when a band decides to use the standard approach of BM in a much more varied way without getting into the genre's odd (read: ridiculous) gimmicks. If you're looking at experimentation, I'm not against it, however, it is material such as this that proves itself to be varying without twisting its shape too much and is certainly capable of teaching a lot of artists a thing or two about experimentation.

Hailing from the UK, Winterfylleth have churned out this piece of harsh beauty two years after their debut, showing no signs of rustiness on their creativity or any laziness in their work. What we have on this release is only a little different from the debut, maintaining much of their initial style but only lengthening their creations. Does this make them repetitive? Yes it does, but it works well in how it flows along with tracks and is what their music seems to be all about. Don't be be fooled though; this is far from your average eight to nine minutes of constant blast beating and tremolo riffing. The very mystique about BM at times is to be found in the intensity and that is one objective that Winterfylleth achieve flawlessly here, despite the shifting between acoustic and tremolo passages, the band do not fail to capture the attention even for one second with their masterful work at the instruments. That and what with the tempo change in the songs, Winterfylleth manage to keep a very intelligent line of songwriting.

So if you go on with the instrumentation you might feel more inclined to make comparisons with certain bands, and obviously names like Ulver and Forefather might come to mind. This release however also displays a very interesting side to Winterfylleth which you might compare with the likes of Agalloch, and that is again their skill at the instruments. Although the beauty of the album very much appears to be in the way all the instruments are played with a certain unison, but between certain changes of tempo the guitarists also let their ability shine with a few quick solos, though by no means does any track's climax seems to have been focussed on the individual instrumental ability. Another interesting aspect of this album is the atmosphere, one might say necessary for any good BM release, and here despite the intense and harsh moments a certain romance obviously influenced by the anglo saxon heritage is created here though as you'll probably see without too many folk instruments. And yet to retain that with such turning tempos within the songs suggests a touch of genius about this relatively young band. The icing on the cake are of course the vocals which like you would expect of every good BM band deliver themselves well,icy and harsh, but again they also come well mixed with clean passages and choir choruses on several songs. Interestingly enough these choirs combined with epic built riffs provide some of the most memorable climaxes to the tracks I have heard in this or any other genre.

So to all the seasoned BM fans, if you have kept up with the delicacies churned out by BM bands this year and are anxious for more, then this album will not disappoint you.

Highlights: The Honour of Good Men On The Path To Eternal Glory, The Wayfarer, Children Of The Stones.

Spiritual Beggars – Demons

Posted by T. Bawden Thursday, 16 September 2010 0 comments














Spiritual Beggars – Demons – 5/5
{Link Removed due to Request}

What better way to kick off this next special than with an album I’ve been praising since I heard it over a year ago. If there can be one album to define ‘Stoner Rock Perfection,’ this is the all-star line-up that provided it, and I really do mean all-star here. From the familiar guitar tone of Amott (Carcass, Arch Enemy) performing better than I’d have believed him possible, the soaring vocals of “JB” Christofferson (Grand Magus) and the impeccable bass work of D’Angello (Mercyful Fate, Witchery, Arch Enemy) forming the core of three, they are further joined by the keyboardist known for his work with Opeth, and the current drummer for black metal band “Shining.”

The biggest shock of this album comes from the bass work, which is far from pushed back in this mix. There is no rhythm guitar plodding here, for the bass is the rhythm guitarist here, providing a deep bass infused in groove that puts many guitarists to shame, no simplistic chords in sight, time and time again he proves his talent (even providing his own bass solos). Around this comes the work of Amott, not dominating over the bass, instead adding another layer to work in unison with the bass, it’s the frequent solos that he proves his might. Whilst distinct in his own particular style, they are worked to feel integral to the track, following the flow with gusto through slow emotional passages and shredded work he performs beyond what I could have expected.

Not to undermine the keyboards or drums in this line-up, whilst both feel perhaps behind the rest of the instrumentation, neither are performed poorly. Despite all too frequently being unheard in the mix, the keyboards can rally together a solo perfectly playing off against the guitars, as well as short interludes. The drumming is competent and creative, ready to rain a fiery rain of beats to suit the mood of the piece, be it gentle or all out insanity. Vocals providing a finalĂ© to this line-up, he once again performs superbly, lending an often more delicate and softer touch than his work with “Magus,” instantly capable of drawing focus with a charisma seeping out of each word sung, still able to belt out those powerful notes with the best of them.

Every member, despite being better known for other projects, have come together and formed a super-group capable of working together as though they had known each other all their lives. Never over-playing their use solos, providing multiple layers whilst retaining a head-banging rhythm with more little fills and tricks up their sleeve than you could imagine, this is a band without a bad album to their name, and just keep on improving.

Highlights: Throwing You Life Away, One Man Army, Treading Water



Wallop – Metallic Alps

Posted by T. Bawden 0 comments


Wallop – Metallic Alps – 4/5
Link

If there was an album more overdue for posting here then...well I probably forgot about a long time ago. My point is this was shown to me nearly a year ago, has quickly become a welcome addition to my collection and for the longest time I thought it was already here, but it wasn't. It never was. This classic gem of forgotten German Heavy Metal – with only the drummer going on to greater things with Grave Digger – seems to be shrouded in obscurity and with a name as lame as “Wallop” and a cover that cheesy its not hard to see why nobody picked it up from the shelf. And yet despite this lousy name the music is anything but; it may not be anything more revolutionary than simple hard-hitting heavy metal but it's surely amongst the best of them.

The most striking feature to hit you like a tonne of bricks is probably going to be the vocals. The front man here isn't exactly the most conventional sounding vocalist you'll have come across, snarling in a nasal high pitched manner, but before you'll have time to fully make up your mind as to whether it suits the music the rest of the band will be in full swing. It may take a couple of tracks for them fully warm up but by the time the guitarist gets his chance to prove he can shred with the best, performing to the calibre of “David T. Chastain” or “Herman Frank” in creating fast paced pieces complete with all the tapping and sweeping the music could demand – and that's just the riffs! - and when the drummer starts wailing on the tom-tom's like he's determined to break every drum in his kit by the end of the night, such questions quickly disappear.

It's not all good news though, it does come with a fairly large flaw (and certainly the one that I find hardest to overcome): the production on the release. It was oddly 'raw' which whilst lending an energetic viscerality to the proceedings whilst still retaining its clarity, it had an unfortunate grating quality that saw me struggle between the desire to play it loudly and not get a headache from all the loud background noise. Certainly here with the re-release the issue is far less noticeable, having been given a much needed re-mastering at the minor cost at pushing the frantic drumming just perhaps a little further back, but by no means out of the picture entirely. There should be little else that needs to be said; like Heavy Metal? You'll love this.

Note: Interestingly, this comes with both the demo's that the band released, one prior and one following this album. During the recording of the album, the original vocalist left and so the one on display here is a cover vocalist and not present on either demo. It's intriguing to me to flick between the two versions and wonder how it would have panned out with the original line-up.

Highlights: Monsters, Idols Die Too

Volcano – Violent

Posted by T. Bawden Tuesday, 14 September 2010 0 comments


Volcano – Violent – 4.5/5
Link

I know, two J-pop reviews in a row, I swear my tastes aren't fully removed from metal quite yet and to prove it, say hello to the Power/Thrash band Volcano. When I point people to Gargoyle it's often the earlier releases that come recommended because in '93 they suffered not only the loss of prominent guitarist (She-Ja) but their drummer too, and Volcano was the result. Teaming up with Aion vocalist (who would sing for “Zigoku Quartet”) and the bassist from the already notorious death/thrash act “Youthquake,” the band's line-up would be completed, performing here and there whenever time allowed and after seven years of jamming the best made it into this album of a more than appropriate title.

But this band is different from the others to emerge from the Japanese scene, rather than feel 'uniquely Japanese' in the manner it unfolds, it instead feels almost as though a homage to the Bay Area Thrash style, with all the flair of the best in USPM, combining technicality with slow Sabbath-like dominance and production values of the early Gothenburg scene. Which isn't actually too surprising given that Fredrik Nordström (Dark Tranquility, At the Gates, Opeth) was responsible here. And so in their homage to West, their unusual blend of styles in itself lends a familiar tone that still doesn't quite fit; it doesn't feel quite so unusual but the manner each track compares to the last lends a dynamic fluidity in their influences such that any attempt at a direct comparison fails.

Anyone aware of She-Ja's past work is probably also aware his presence is worth its weight in gold; from blistering shredded solo's, epic neo-classical compositions, dirty doom-like grooves and everything else in between, his abilities are none the less on display here, forming the centrepiece to their sound and given ample room to shake things up a bit. The bass weaves his own course and is made all the more important during the frequent diversions from the guitar, and with varied drum work no less capable than what we would come to expect of a musician of his calibre, and some roaring vocals that succeed in straddling that line between tenor and more traditional thrash screams, what were left with is a creative and melodic take on modern thrash. Quite frankly, what's not to like?

Highlights: Kill all of Me, Fear of the Scarlet, The Prayer

Mami Kawada – Linkage

Posted by T. Bawden 0 comments


Mami Kawada – Linkage – 4/5
Link

I mentioned already that I found it rather odd that whilst the new “Accept” release is still shelved, the moment I found this release I had it spinning and its been that way for a while now, but there we have it. One of the infamous “I've Sound” artists; it was her last release “SAVIA” that was met with rave reviews despite having only a few tracks that truly stood out from the crowd, and it would seem that this is thus far her follow up is not faring so well. I do wonder if the quite unexpected cover image is partly to blame, the duo of artists responsible for song writing duties notably choosing older and more experienced vocalists who perhaps aren't exactly known for being the prettiest starlets to choose from, but more capable. Now admittedly, they have definitely they have definitely caught her good side (compared to here:[1][2]) but nonetheless it still feels somewhat out of place and a cheap 'sex sells' gimmick to try to boost sales.

It probably isn't helped too much by the fact that ultimately this release feels quite different from the last; her vocals are still present and as delicate as before, the use of vocoder kept untastefully high so as to create that addictive perfume-like pitch-perfect melody which will make many loath its processed and electronic tone. There's little to say about any emotion running through her delivery, but that is nothing unexpected given that the intention is far more intent on the melodies. Consistently performing in an upbeat tone, her abilities as a vocalist often feel rather inconsequential to the album at hand; there's nothing particularly awful about the delivery, but they're always sung in the same manner to the extent that more variation comes from the vocoder than her, and its treated very much like a constant instrument to maintain the flow of the piece, and in this is its only major success.

Instead, the main highlight comes from the backing which has morphed from the more hard hitting techno of her last to what I would only describe as a sort of “trance;” too upbeat to really be called “Dark” but too aggressive to fit in with most of the genre, and yet somehow inexplicably more-ish. It's greatest strength unquestionably in its consistency; there are no knock-out sensations but no jarring dips in quality either. The entire album comfortably flows from end to end and whilst may often fade into the background, when the attention resumes its none the worse for it. It's easy listening without being boring; upbeat without being too nauseatingly fluffy, and between the cute and the chaotic I can't help but think that this is far more of a success for the backing work than for the artist in question. Maybe we'll eventually hear her voice free of effects and her emotions can come through her delivery, as she has proven in rare tracks here to be able to do, but for now just enjoy the ever improving trance stylings of the “I've Sound” boys.

Highlights: TOY, masterpiece, Linkage, All in Good Time

Chappie – New Chappie

Posted by T. Bawden Sunday, 12 September 2010 0 comments


Chappie – New Chappie – 4/5
Link

It may have seemed that my interest in shibuya-kei had disappeared, but that's not really true. Given that it was a relatively small local scene limited to a single ward in Tokyo, Japan, there are simply a limited number of artists that sprung into existence, and even fewer that made enough of an impact for me to readily discover. And even of those that did grab my attention, many of which had long since disbanded leaving behind a legacy of just a handful of releases out of print for many years and simply impossible to obtain. Such was the case with this artist (which thanks to the folks at JpopSuki I finally managed to get my grubby mitts on), which I had discovered early on in my exploration, a creation of the design company 'Groovisions' named after their trademark doll (no, I'm not really sure how it all fits in) that makes use of their staff to provide the vocals.

Much of the way this manages to succeed is down to the manner in which its worked into the composition, it's frequently choral nature and focus on the boisterous electronic backing tone drawing the attention away from any nuances in the voice, the production work invested in creating a simple pitch-perfect melody with clearly defined transitions. The music of Chappie is – as you might expect from a collaborative effort – rather varied in its style, with an obvious tendency towards Shibuya-Kei, each track in this solitary effort demonstrates a glorious diversity from that which preceded it. Sadly, this fact doesn't come without its own set of problems. If you were expecting a great deal of coherency between the tracks on show you may come to be disappointed is much of it plays out like a collection of singles lumped together to form a release.

The result is nothing if not perhaps slightly inconsistent. With such a variety there are naturally some tracks to prefer over others; some tracks are kept short and snappy and you wish they'd revisit more often, whilst others sound rather more basic and simplistic and at times come close to overstaying their welcome. Then there's that track that sounds like it may well be a cover of the Jackson 5's “ABC” which is just plain bizarre and one that often finds itself being skipped, and yet despite this turbulent track listing there are far more diamonds than duds on display and whilst you might occasionally tune out for a sub-par track, it still manages to captivate my attention rather well.

Highlights: Welcome Morning, Track 5, The International Chappie's Cheer-leading Team

The Howling Wind – Into the Cryosphere

Posted by T. Bawden Tuesday, 7 September 2010 2 comments


The Howling Wind – Into the Cryosphere – 4/5
Link

Ryan Lipynsky – also known as “Killusion” is something of an asshole. He seems to have torn people apart, half calling him a genius and the others calling him a pretentious wanker. Apart from the drummer this is a one man band with him performing and writing all the music, and far from being horrendously tinny and completely absent of bass, the production on it is actually quite palletable, I mean, how dare he soil the good name of Black Metal? And to add insult to injury this music is heavily tainted with experimentalism, combining a sludgy doom-esque tone with an almost 'tech death' level of chaos to its tempo changes, varying from the slow to the not quite so slow. But you know what really grates me? More than anything else, he has interrupted my epic music-review comeback (which is still being written) and dominated my listening time to the point that it's already time to write my thoughts.

The bass is largely complementary to the rest of the sound, providing ample atmosphere to his despair-laden and morbid creation, working subtly in the background. The vocals too are largely overshadowed by the instrumentation, faintly heard howling like an elegant but powerful wind sweeping across the horizon, always heard but rarely distinguishable though the chaos. Instead, most of the draw comes from the highly distorted guitars; they're raw and aggressive, varying between the simplistic tremolo lines to the quicker paced thick and somehow darkly addictive lines. Often layered atop one another, the production remains impressively capable of distinguishing between the lines and lending an odd crisp feel to the otherwise inherently raw tone they take. The drumming provides no slack either, facilitating the change in tempo with a wide array of fills to break up the passages into bitesize chunks.

Impressively for a such a small two-man project it lends a large sound filled with multiple layers all capable of crashing down around you, each layer with its own part to play in creating the cavernous and chaotic darkness that envelops you for its short run time. The ability for sludge to create a thick tone, grinding down in such a way to aptly fit its moniker of “working-mans-metal” is used to good effect here whilst never entirely losing that blackened sense of despair. It is, however, a trade off; you cannot use sludge elements without losing much of that icy and frostbitten tone, but with such an abundance of basement black metal bands pretending to be necro I can't say its interesting to hear things done differently. Whether you still think he's a bit of a wanker or not – he is from New York, so its certainly a plausible theory – that doesn't prevent his music from being pretty darn good.

Highlights: The Seething Wrath of a Frigid Soul, Will is the Only Fire Under an Avalanche

Sanctity – Road To Bloodshed

Posted by T. Bawden Thursday, 2 September 2010 0 comments


Sanctity – Road To Bloodshed – 3.5/5
Link

Its been a while since I wrote here but that's more due to the fact I'd been pre-occupied with film and re-listening to collection classics as opposed to exploring new material. As such, it only makes sense to return with a bang (still to come) and this is very much my 'warm up' run. When Sanctity first emerged two years ago they made a bit of a splash, but not the good kind. Early on they were picked up by Roadrunner for 'sounding a bit like Trivium,' their major success story at the time. Assumedly when they released an album that wasn't awful their label lost interest leaving them in limbo with thrash fans passing them up as another lousy retro-thrash act and the rest confused at the fact that they actually play thrash and not New York Hardcore with solos.

In fact, all these comparisons seem not quite suited to the beast on display; they certainly have some of the old school attitude about them but they musicianship is far more “pop,” more modern. Fuck it, it's downright addictive, even 'danceable' at times, and its difficult to not sing along to the likes of “Road to Bloodshed” playing out like some demented Lady Gaga/thrash combo, or the epic lines in “Zeppo” begging for a show of lighters swaying to the pounding sound of the guitars. And the best part is they succeed in doing this whilst never feeling like anything but a modern thrash band; the drums still create a blissful chaos, the riffs are never less than memorable and every song contains the required shredded solo to put the best big four in their place.

I'm not denying there's still some of that hardcore influence trickling in; between the cleanly sung chorus lines and 'breakdown' like slow passages breaking things up it's actually quite evident at times but this is not a negative thing. The unconventionality of their sound simply prevents them from sounding like another cookie cutter clone and amidst the expected exclamations of “clean vocals in MY thrash” and “where are the blast beats?” it all simply fits together. Yes, repeated listens show that many of the tracks work on a similar formula and it could have benefited from less of a 'clean' over-production so its not without its flaws, but looking back it's a shame that it took me a second chance listening to realise just how much potential there is here. Don't pass them off as another sheep in the crowd as you may be passing on one of the few creative acts still in the modern thrash scene.

Highlights: Beneath the Machine, Road to Bloodshed, Zeppo

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Guide

Guide to the Ratings
0/5 - This caused me physical pain
1/5 - This is really bloody awful
2/5 - This was below average
3/5 - This was above average
4/5 - This was pretty darn good.
5/5 - I cannot fault this epitome of perfection.

I cant guarantee all reviewers adhere to these guidelines, but work as a general guide.

Author's credit is given on all posts.