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This album is intense all the way through, but the band’s little experiments are the only hindrance in the way of a perfect album. Well, I say “little” experiments, but in this case one of them includes an over-ten-minute-long riff instrumental. The riffs are decent, but I’ve heard this done better before by bands like Defiance. In all seriousness, the duration is downright excessive.
But once we get past the overlong instrumental “The Ultra-Violence,” the unfunny and clichéd joke closer “I.P.F.S.,” as well as the inferior alternate vocalist on “Thrashers,” we have a consistently awesome album. Mark Osegueda’s vocals don’t sound like the snotty little pre-teen that whines in the follow-up, but rather like a scared little girl. With the kind of thrash they play here, this persona works much more effectively.
By the way, isn’t it ironic how the singer ruined the second album, but saves this one from mediocrity? This guy shrieks louder than any human being you’re likely to stumble upon in your lifetime. His voice is piercing at times, and his falsettos are more impressive than those in your typical power metal music. When he screams in songs like “Mistress of Pain” you can almost feel the agony as he is being whipped and beaten by the dominatrix the lyrics tell of. The song really is shocking and captures that sort of a moment perfectly.
I’d love to hear Mark’s vocals on “Thrashers,” but they unfortunately have a less skilled and uninteresting singer doing the job on this track. Such an insane, more-aggressive-version-of-Judas-Priest type of song deserves a more competent singer. The closing track is also a lame attempt at comedy with a boring set of riffs followed by a bunch of random quotes and impressions done in silly voices. Venom had done this infinitely better already.
It’s really hard to condemn and album with 6 superb tracks (“Thrashers” is still amazing; it just would have been better if Mark sang it.) The filler is a nuisance, but there’s nothing that deplorable; it’s just a failed attempt at humor for a closer and a riff-fest that overstays its welcome.