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Two years after the intense debut, Acrophet are back for another album under the sign of the most pure thrash metal. As I said in the previous review for Corrupt Minds, this band is truly good and when it comes on the speed parts it’s hard to match for intensity and violence. These guys are really full of anger and rage towards to society, the religion and you can hear it very well in their music that is simply another form of aggression related to the lyrics. In two years, lots of things can change but these guys always remained the same.
By the way, this time the production is finally very good and this time all the instruments acquired a lot of power, especially the guitars. The palm muting parts are really heavy and they are the most representative example of the violence by this band. Through them you can really experience what thrash metal was about at the time. As always, the speed metal parts are really well done and all the rhythmic session is precise and quite various, especially the drumming that is always in a way between the speed metal patterns and the thrash metal ones. Even during the mid-paced parts the band is truly good and powerful because the guitars continue in destroying the chords with never ending riffs and well executed tempo changes.
Even if the tempo is always quite fast, the various stop’n’go are perfect to pass from a tempo to another in a lethal mixture of blasting riffs and mad vocals. These last ones, especially, are really pissed off and full of anger. They are not from hardcore, even if the music has something of it inside, but they are quite raspy and particular because not excessively screamed. After the first impacts, the first song to stand out a bit (for a different songwriting) is “Legend Has It” where the band is less fast in most of the parts. The riffs are less impulsive and this time the solos contribute in creating a darker and more obscure atmosphere to support the rhythmic parts.
In “Dead All Day”, the early hardcore/punk lesson of bands like D.R.I., Suicidal Tendencies and so on is taken once more and added to thrash metal to create a blasting one minute song. Anyway, also the other songs are all about the sheer impact of the instruments, but they are longer and full of more various parts. In these cases, if you choose the way of the pure speed and impact, it’s inevitable that you must forget a bit about the melody and the catchiness. I think that this is the only thing I can complain about these songs: the lack of memorable parts. You can say it’s quite bad, but I say that when you have these brutal compositions, the rest is a bit less important.
In 35 minutes, these crazy musicians achieved the goal of creating a pure wall of sound made of relentless palm muting riffs, pounding bass parts, hammering and hyper fast drumming and powerful vocals. As I said, even the more mid-paced sections are really intense and I feel to give Faded Glory the same mark of the debut album. Forget about catchiness and melody, this is a frontal assault.
Despite what the band's bio proclaims (in the archive's 'additional notes' section or in press releases sent to the press and radio), Acrophet's debut didn't have a cannonball's splash on metal society. Looked over, around, or never even seen, Corrupt Minds is a nice four or five dollar zircon (lp-wise) that doesn't leap out at ya from the rack, but is one of those lps you put on the side just in case and eventually return to the bin when you've found something even marginally more eventful-looking. Faded Glory, the band's follow-up and last rite, unsurprisingly shares the same bin.
The weather has changed a little bit here in Acrophet's land. A westerly wind has shifted the band's sound more toward the salty Bay Area, stiffening these eleven tracks with a crisper resonance without becoming totally immersed in the concept. With this shift the fiery foursome who only humbly sprinkled progressivism onto their debut expand their horizons multidimensionally with "Haunting Once Again", "Legend Has It", and "The American Zone 1990", three tunes corralling the all-out thrash and hardcore ambush for combined melodic and harmonic professionalism.
And speaking of hardcore, more prevalent than the California crunch is the intrinsic hardcore instinct that is hardened into (something more) concrete. Rollers like "Dependency", "Silent Insanity" and up-close muzzle blast "Dead All Day" fly to the limit, Baumann's vox leaning more toward angry shouts akin to a less death-fuzzed Sacred Reich or even near-future Biohazard, and two times the hollered backing vocal racket of the debut dissuades no part of this. Think what you will of the style, but most (good) hardcore is morose, angrier sounding than punk, and is as stealthy as metal trashcans rolling down a mountain. There're worse things out there to find in a band's mix i.e. heavy (as in loads of it) psych, saxophone solos, and anything associated with jug bands.
In addition, the wind and a cleaner production has wiped away a layer or two from the debut's whiplash intensity, leaving in its wake a more cloudless atmosphere smoothing over the former craters on a landscape that was almost Morbid Saint dangerous. But the speed still motors with an exclamation point...there were three punctuating it at one time, but the fervor has curtailed a few jots to make way for other things progressive and geographic already spoken of.
Sure, some songs are more of this and more of that, and with lp opener "When Time Stands Still" they immediately try to showcase their blending of the elements, but in this instance comes off as structured and safe as it is perfectly allotted, confirming to me they're better off tipping the scales in one favor or the other. Not to mention that after the debut began like a meteor storm, I had hopes high and bright for the follow-up's kick off.
In all, it may sound like changes with pretty broad strokes, but it looks worse on paper. Anyone remember paper?