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'Pasadena Napalm Division'

(Minus Head records)

MARK: 82/100


Featuring Kurt Brecht from D.R.I., members of Dead Horse and guest vocals by Tony Foresta of Municipal Waste fame, the debut album of the Texan 5-piece is already 4 years old but it hasn't received the right level of exposure it deserves, so that's why we've decided to write about it.
The namesake full length talks getting drunk with a zombie in Pasadena (lyrics that Tankard aficionados should appreciate quite a lot), helping a beautiful blonde girl to get out of her addiction and depair, a goodbye at the cemetery, running away from a place once and for all, a dream place where everything runs smooth and people are all happy and not evil, a jack of all trades and master of none (the best lyrics), a person with a delirium of omnipotence (raise your hands, who's never dealt with one like that in their lives?), a freak circus avenging its bearded lady by killing her murderer, hatred (the only one in Italian, due to Kurt's Italian wife, very funny with that thick US accent), love and murder, the murder of a girl at the hand of someone who dated her, a lonely suicide bomber, a demonic singer off an unknown band.

A slow start without any intro characterizes the adrenalinic opener "100 Beers with A Zombie", a Thrashcore song that owes a lot to D.R.I., and Gang Green musicwise and contains a couple of piercing axe solos.
"Bleached Blonde Despair" has a tank-like blastbeat for the most part of its length, with the exception of when there is a Thrash Metal riff, another slowed down in the vein of the early Suicidal Tendencies, and also when the mid tempo emphasized by a scorching axe solo concludes the composition with vocals connected in a series with Suicidal Tendencies' debut album's.
Alternating fast parts alà D.R.I. where the kick drums sound like an unstopping timed volley of stones with others where the pace is braked, "Cemetery Mass" adds a muscular Thrash Metal riff and excellent vocals to the recipe, both seeming to come from the golden era of this genre.
"Don't Care" begins with rapid riffing and then the other instruments start their roles; when the mid tempo presents clearly distinct guitar strokes and fast kick drum attacks, the refrain is ready to come, reinforced by Tony's suffering back-up vocals (a sheer trademark!), and followed by Slayerian guitar solos along with drumming leaving no time for breathing. Finally, the very quick vocals prolonged till the end definitely remind of the initial D.R.I.'s.
Adding a blastbeat with bass and vocals without guitar to the main formula used on this record like the Texan Crossovers used to in their first opera, "Dreamland" recurs to a chunky guitar together with the materialization of obsessive vocals, and also tries its hand at two elaborate axe solos.
One of the peaks of intensity on this CD can be found in "Failure", a track that undoubtely displays the finest vocals of the album, stops 'n' go that are worth purchasing "Pasadena Napalm Division"; here is one more brief shrieking guitar solo, still it's the refrain claiming the lion's share.
"My Own Little God" is possessed by a fiery riff as well as speedy blastbeats in the manner of Mike Muir's main band, while the predominant riff decidedly belongs in Thrash Metal, with the vocals completing the picture magnificently also when they are echoed. A bass breakdown and a guitar solo which the vocals are partly layered onto comes right before the ending strike by the fast as fuck returning refrain.
A bass riff opens "Murder the Bearded Lady Killer", and soon afterwards drums and guitar arrive mincing all that's on their way, preceding an almost Swedish Death-tuned riff which Thrash Metal vocals stand out on, alternating itself with the brilliant refrain. So many years passed from "Dealing with It", but the guys are almost surprisingly still in good shape!
Shifting from a Thrash Metal riff after the funniest and most playful Anthrax with an almost messianic Doom Metal refrain until the Rock-veined axe solo shows up in the finale, "Non Ti Amo" is ensued by "Spell It out", containing a mono hasty riff and drums from the other loudspeaker, till the attack as one and later a crushing central riff, which is in turn replaced by a diversiform riff fit for the Texas act's style. The fast and the demolishing riffs appear again in the last fragment of the piece to deliver one of the last uppercuts of the record.
There's a bunch of old school tough guy Hardcore in "All of A Sudden Dead", and a lot of reminiscences of Brecht's first combo of the primary career, too. To make things more interesting a dialogue between a cop and a boy being interviewed about a murder has been added at the end.
Thanks to its 4 minutes, "Terror Cell" has all the time to grow up gradually and move closer to musical territories dear to Macabre and the likes, thus mixing Murder Metal insane vocals and Thrashcore dynamic rifferama like I had never heard so convincing before during the expeditious structures in the second fraction of the song.
"Speaking in Tongues" includes all of the elements typical of Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, S.O.D., M.O.D., Excel, Beowulf and a bevy of good riffs and time changes.

13 tracks for a total of 38 minutes may sound a bit fishy, in that fans who know the main act from the beginning might expect an album full of fillers and rejected songs from the members' historical outfits, but this is not the case. Those who will come to this conclusion will be mistaken and on the contrary will be surprised by so tight an album from these veterans who are not tired of writing awesome songs where no two compositions are alike.
So, is this lot of tracks devoid of faults at all? Well, it depends: firstly, if you want something new and experimental, don't choose this album, whereas if you like the old style and are looking for new songs in this sector, your search is over. Secondly, the recording: it is good, powerful but not balanced and I'm one of those who love to listen to a bass guitar distinctly and this doesn't happen when all the instruments are playing in a crowded musical structure within any of these tracks. And now, after a four-year silence I just wonder: will there ever be a comeback from P.N.D.?


Line-up on this record:
Kurt Brecht - v. (also in D.R.I., ex-Suburbanites)
Bubba Dennis II - b., backing v. (ex-Verbal Abuse)
Ronny Guyote - d., backing v. (also in Dead Horse)
Greg Martin - g. (also in Dead Horse)
Scott Sevall - g., v. (also in Dead Horse)

Austin/Houston/Pasadena, Texas - USA


Official sites:

-Pasadena Napalm Division (demo - 2008)
-P.N.D. (EP - 2010)
-Pasadena Napalm Division (CD - 2013)