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Would you like some sleaze with your shred? - 72%

hells_unicorn, September 23rd, 2011

Cacophony, a shred based speed metal band featuring not one, but two dominant lead guitar impresarios, hit the ground running with a technically ambitious, albeit very cliche and slavish to its musical surroundings work in "Speed Metal Symphony" in 1987 and decided it was best to get more music out while the getting was good. Not much more that a year later they came back with a full time bassist (Friedman handled the bass duties on the debut), 2 credited drummers (Dean Castronova being the one handling what is heard on the actual studio album) and a new album in "Go Off!" that literally lives up to its name, in many good and a number of not so good senses.

If an analogy to Yngwie's first 2 studio albums fit the character that was this band's debut, a similar one can be made between this one and the mad Swede's 2 commercial ventures in "Odyssey" and "Eclipse". While this album doesn't have the cheesy, Journey inspired keyboard quirks and is actually a bit more riff oriented, there is a heightened level of sleaze and LA metal tendencies at work here, not the least of them being the semi-bluesy rocker "Black Cat", which sounds much more like an outtake from Saxon's transitional period between the early 80s darkness into mainstream rock radio, but with about 5 times as many guitar solos. The closing instrumental "Images" shows similar tendencies, but more in the way of a Dokken song where George Lynch sets the fret board on fire while Don Dokken takes 5.

But while the bulk of what is heard on here is a bit more slowed down and straight up heavy metal oriented in the songwriting department, the overall feel of this album comes off as processed and mechanical. Part of this is found in the overtly smooth character of the rhythm guitar and drum sound, though Marrino's vocals is where this shows the most, as he tends to sound like a pissed off version of Kip Winger when not throwing in the occasional Halford shriek. But 2 exceptions to the general feel of this album emerge, the most auspicious of the two being "Sword Of The Warrior" which ups the speed and heaviness factor to the point of sounding like mid-80s Manowar with a Metal Church twist. But almost equal attention should be given to the freakishly technical shred fest of a title track in "Go Off!", which definitely points not only towards what Nitro would a year later, but also what Dragonforce would be doing about 15 years later.

The greatest enemy that this album has, much like its predecessor, is the overt 80s character of the style. While technically extravagant and mostly also a solid collection of catchy songs, this is so buried in sleaze cliches and stereotypes that it will mostly find enthusiasts amongst old guard types who live for similar material put out by Accept ("Metal Heart") and Dokken ("Back For The Attack"), and perhaps a fair share of Malmsteen's cult following. In spite of its almost robotic character, this album will probably be the bane of anyone who favors what currently calls itself modern metal.