the underground come these 3 musicians debuting with a brilliant recording
(It's an HDCD, man!) where the bass is plainly hearable and the details
incredibly refined, a nice artwork and 11 tracks, fairly ripe for this
being their first opus.
A great deal of influences makes this album various and continuously
jumping back and forth from past to present. Another point in their
favor is the expressiveness of their singer Russell James Hallock, which
represents, like it or not, 50% of the whole song effect.
The opener "Abomination" is their ace in the sleeve;
it's mainly Thrash metal with a few Rush-like progressive injections
and a couple of Maidenian riffs as well. Very significant are the lyrics
that Democratics and people voting for them like director Michael Moore
will sure dig and metal fans too, thanks to a hypnotic refrain blazing
at the end; last but not least, excellent is the bass work, fresh and
poignant from the first listen.
"Slave" starts with an arpeggio reminding me of Metallica's
"One", then the riff comes is and fucks shit up; I
have to think about the 4 Knights from Frisco again and more specifically
of their heaviest riffs contained in "...And Justice for All".
The rest of the composition mixes Sacred Reich and vocals a là
Pro-Pain, including 2 adequate axe solos preceding the final whippings.
Marvellous moshing Thrash riffs compose "Crucified"
but when you get to the chorus with reinforcing suffering backup vocals,
you just won't keep your heads and feet standing; this song is gonna
make old and new fans united once again. It's time we stopped getting
split in categories and listened to metal whatever its edge is. Together
we stand, divided we fall!
The long title track begins with Arabian sounds but then it turns heavy
with a crushing slow riff with mesmerizing vocals, equalling the atmospheries
created by Smackgod, Lacuna Coil and the likes; more Arabian sounds
inserted here and there, an avalanche of breaks among which one with
funeral bell tolls; the drum work also includes some prog metal patterns
when the guitars become delayed. A mix between Thrash metal heroes such
as Watchtower and Tool compounds a middle part; the vocals in the fashion
of lynch mob individual make the whole song pleasant for repeated listens
even if it skims 10 minutes of length; an elegant conclusion for this
majestic masterpiece is the icy on the cake.
Another arpeggio opens a song; this time is the turn of "Rage",
which ends up bursting with different powerful Thrash riffs and effected
or claiming vocals together with the usual adrenalinic ones reminding
me of the Speed Metal of Metallica, the twisted psychotic soundscapes
created by Prong, Vio-lence or other similar geniuses.
"Priestess of the Moon" is a gentle song where Hallock
sounds like having got transplanted the early James Hetfield's vocal
chords bar in the refrain, completely different and closer to Kinetic
Dissent. The vocalist also plays keyboards and here they're rendered
"Avalon" is an instrumental composition where the main
characters are the guitar and the keyboards, contributing in creating
lunar landscapes; without pauses it leads to "Warrior of the
Sun", which directly brings us to a sparkling 80's Thrash;
however the Colorado band likes to surprise us with fairy-tale prog
metal elements and Merlin's warnings; then angry vocals on an Epic metal
texture are alternated with melodic structures; in the final part, more
metal, the aggressive vocals are a là latest Hetfield, tho Hallock's
voice is richer in the middle frequencies.
A short intro ("Forest of Green") with anrpeggioed
guitar conducts to "Owl Sight", starting with an odd
part not that distant from Jethro Tull; the soft vocals are influenced
by Hetfield one more time, whereas the angry ones sound like a hybrid
amongst Saliva, Nickelback and Puddle of Mudd before the closing Iron
Closer "Arctic Rain" is made of acoustic guitars, a
mandolin and manual percussions without sticks; the water is running,
this bucolic landscape inspired by the band's country's pure mountains
and lakes (if I remember well Colorado hosted a world winter skiing
competition years ago) is the hidden soft soul of the members and a
deign ending too.
Surrender into their embrace...Those who like US metal should not miss
this knock-out CD devoid of decreases and played by experienced, but
most of all, eclectic songwriters.
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 12/11/04
792 Spring Road, Durango, CO 81303 -
T/F: +1 970 749 9739USA