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They put the “Roll” in “Death ‘n’ Roll” - 85%

Warpig, February 22nd, 2007

Entombed released “Wolverine Blues” in 1993 and a new genre was born: Death ‘n’ Roll, a mixture of Death Metal with other styles like Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Hard Rock and Punk. Apart from that album the “classics” of this genre were basically released within two years: Gorefest’s “Soul Survivor (04/96), Carcass’ “Swansong” (05/96), Entombed’s “To Ride, Shoot Straight…” (10/97) and Gorefest’s “Chapter 13” (02/98). I consider these albums classics because they were not only among the very first “pure” Death ‘n’ Roll releases, but they were released by well-known bands and therefore had a great impact on the music scene.

In October 1998 Crack Up finally gave the “big names” a run for their money with the release of “Heads Will Roll” and 18 months later with “Dead End Run”. Sadly, they never had the success they deserved and split up after one more album in 2002.

Of all the above mentioned bands Crack Up were by far the most straightforward, leaning towards the sound of bands like Volbeat (which, of course, came much later) or even Turbonegro, rather than typical Death Metal. Their Death Metal roots were mainly visible because of their use of growls and heavily down-tuned guitars.

Their similarities to non-metal-bands are best exemplified by the two fantastic cover versions on this album: “Next Big Thing” by the Dictators and “Bad Mongo” by Stierkampf (the precursor band to the afore-mentioned Turbonegro). Although Crack Up are much heavier than those bands and the cover songs are therefore lighter than their original material, they fit in so well, that I didn’t realize they were no originals until I had read the liner notes.

Apart from the slower “Off-Kilter” every song on that album is basically played in mi-tempo, even if they occasionally up the tempo a bit, and that makes for a relentless groove without falling into the trap of getting monotonous. Strangely enough, this is the only weaker song on the first half of the album. The second half is not quite as strong, but has more than enough highlights (e.g. “Hell’s Day” the varied “Demon” or the chorus of “In A Hole”) to make this album enjoyable throughout.

With “Heads Will Roll” Crack Up managed to create an album that combines the best of two worlds, as it is just as heavy as it fun. So get this album, turn up the volume (this was recorded at Stage One Studios, so you can bet your ass that the production is as good as it gets) and enjoy!