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Yes, it's true this is probably the album that was not intended to be recorded as Demolition Hammer, but to fans who were unfamiliar with Demolition Hammer, this album proves to be a good place to start. Gone were Vinny Daze and James Rille and the guitar solos and the signature faster-than-lighting sound that had fans drooling. In are Alex Marquez and the new heavier and groove-oriented Demolition Hammer.
The album starts of with a brief old school intro of two guys ranting on fucking someone up, then cuts into "Under the Table" which is a good general sample of what this album is all about. It's heavy, in your face, and has lots of simple, but ballsy riffs. Songs like "Power Struggle", "Bread and Water", and "Mindrot" have the same slow burn effect as Pantera's "Walk" or Obituary's "Chopped in Half". The lack of guitar solos was definitely something I would consider a bit of a let down, but it also makes the song more to the point and less about the guitar playing.
Critics have described this album as very repetitive, yet I find this album much more enjoyable that their previous efforts which sounded a lot more of the same thrash-speed metal that bands like Kreator, Sodom, Sabbat, Destruction etc. had us accustomed to. Fans of Pantera, Machine Head, and early groove bands will definitely appreciate this album. Fans of older Demolition Hammer will probably find this album too slow and heavy to enjoy.
Perhaps one of the more disappointing realizations I ever came across during my forays into the heavy metal genre has to be what became of Demolition Hammer. One can perhaps say the same thing of more renowned bands such as Slayer, Metallica, or even Sepultura, but all three of these bands and most of their peers had a slow descent into mediocrity. Demolition Hammer was basically claiming the thrash throne for themselves in 1992 with "Epidemic of Violence," an album that had few equals.
Fast forward to 1994, and we have "Time Bomb." I suppose one does have to take into account the band's personal status at this time, not to mention the fact that the remaining members did not even want it to be released under the band's name. Add to this the changed band logo and odd ball mid-90's artwork, and you have the makings of a weak to abysmal listen. Despite my initial disappointments over this release, the album graciously leans more towards the former in terms of musical quality.
The interesting thing about this album, and what remotely links it to the remainder of the Demolition Hammer discography is Steve Reynolds. Reynolds vocals are still heavily within the death/thrash realm, and in all honesty are not that far removed from the previous album. Considering the vocal style he was going for here, its safe to say he pulled it off better than either Phil Anselmo or Chuck Billy on Pantera's or Testament's respective albums of this same year. That said, he's also more tolerable than Robb Flynn was, who made his debut with Machine Head at this time.
Despite that small consolation to rabid fans of "Epidemic of Violence," the music here is nothing short of pure 90's groove and hardcore. Since I am not completely offended by this style of music, I don't really hate this album the way some others here have expressed. However, being the diehard fan of this band's earlier works that I am, it makes it no less easy to accept the changes made here. Even worse than the grunge/groove tendencies here are songs like "Under the Table" and "Bread and Water," which come strangely close to what became defined as mallcore in the upcoming years. These two, especially "Under the Table" don't sound too far away from KoRn's mid-90's sound except with Reynolds far more tolerable death/thrash grunts thrown in.
The better songs here are the ones that go for the more bearable moments of Pantera's and Machine Head's mid-90's style. These come in the form of "Blowtorch," which is a mildly tolerable groove/hardcore track that isn't really offensive but doesn't really go anywhere. "Mindrot" is similiar, except during the choruses where Reynolds' rendition of the word "mindrot" sounds like a cow passing gas, which is obviously not the intended effect. "Power Struggle" also has a decent doom metal riff in there, but its repeated ad nauseum with little variation. Even the strange choice for a cover in the Devo song "Mongoloid" is tolerable, but hardly anything one should invest time or money in tracking down.
Its not difficult at all to fathom why this album turned out the way it did, nor is it too strenuous to imagine why the band wanted it released under a different identity. This album is sure to displease Demolition Hammer fans, as its very far removed from the band who released "Epidemic of Violence" and destroyed your ear drums with barbaric blitzkrieg thrash. I personally can't bring myself to hate it, not being entirely disgusted by the genre this album is etched in but that doesn't make it a classic in my eyes. It comes off more bearable than Pantera's repetitive mess in "Far Beyond Driven," but slightly less appealing than either "Low" or "Burn My Eyes" were if for no other reason than it reminds me just how far this band actually fell.
Demolition Hammer were on to something here; they really were. The band was just never cut out for thrash, because they always had groove undertones that they finally let loose on this release. The problem is the songwriting is just as sub-par as the last two albums coupled with the fact that they now have a Pantera sound. If you can’t write good music, at least choose a genre to suck in so that the very aesthetics of the songs are still pleasing.
So what were Demolition Hammer onto here? They were onto the fact that they might have a better chance in the groove metal style. The opener called “Under the Table” is written perfectly (as all DH openers are). When I first eared this I though, “Wow, these guys beat Pantera at their own game.” I might not be much of a groove fan, but I can recognize talent within a certain genre even as an outsider.
There’s tons of nu-metallish stuff in here like “Bread and Water” that make me think of Mudvayne or Soulfly, perhaps even Mushroomhead. Oh well, at least it’s catchy ear-candy-metal that’s admittedly more fun than the more trite thrash out there. Unfortunately, songs like “Waste” and “Undefined” are so characterless and poorly composed that it’s like…well…I feel like I’m playing a monster truck game on my old Windows 95 and this is the generic “metal” music playing the background as I run over a pickup truck. There are tons of cool riffs, but the actual numbers that they build are not logically coherent or remotely good tracks.
Just like with “Epidemic of Violence”, the band completely redefine their sound again. We’ve gone from barking shouts, to angry yelps, and now to semi-death-growls. Also, they decided to abandon lead guitar here with only a couple exceptions.
This album is ridiculously predictable. Demolition Hammer are experts at fooling metalheads into thinking they are talented by placing their admittedly excellent “hit singles” as the first few songs on the CD, and then slapping another little goody (in this case Mongoloid) toward the end so it at least seems balanced. In that respect, they are the Bon Jovi of thrash, and I’ll be sure to place “Under the Table” right after “Livin’ on a Prayer” on my next compilation CD-R.
There's nothing wrong with Time Bomb that a new band name couldn't fix. Demolition Hammer are thrash metal legends that released some of the genre's classic albums, but this is groove-happy sludgefest. I'm sure Pantera fans would eat it up, but thrash metal fans need this like a Jewish kid needs a swarm of killer bees at his Bar Mitzvah.
As other reviewers have pointed out, this was never meant to be a Demolition Hammer CD. After the release of Epidemic of Violence, the band's lineup fell apart, with Reilly and Daze leaving to form a new band. Sykes and Reynolds pushed on, recording a very 90-ish groove-laden album that didn't sound like Demolition Hammer at all. They planned to release it under a different band name, but their label was a monstrous cock gobbler and refused to support it unless it was a Demolition Hammer release!
Time Bomb can be described as an early nu-metal album. The riffs are kind of chunky and downtuned, and there's not a guitar solo to be found. Blast beats? Forget it. The speed and aggression is greatly reduced and at times this turns into a sludge album. The complexity is also downsized in favor of a monotonous and indigestible songwriting style. Case in point: ".44 Caliber Brain Surgery" (from their first album) had about a dozen different riffs and several solos. "Under the Table" has...one riff? Maybe two?
The absence of guitar solos is what really kicks the album in the nuts. Some bands (mostly in the grindcore and industrial genre) get along fine without them, but there's a reason why guitar solos have been a mainstay of heavy metal these last thirty years. They provide an interesting contrast to the lead and rhythm riffing, and help the songs stay fresh. If you don't have them all the songs sound boring and repetitive, especially in the groove genre. Even Dime would bust out a solo when he had to. This is especially noticeable in the case of Time Bomb, which is so slow and bass-heavy it sounds like you're listening to a washing machine.
Oh yeah, and did I mention that all the songs sound the same? Other than the Devo cover "Mongoloid" the songs are practically interchangeable. Reynolds sings in the same style every song, Sykes plays the same key every song, it gets pretty damned repetitive. Granted, this was a criticism that applies to their previous albums, but if all the songs have to sound the same I'd rather they be balls-to-the-wall thrashers than boring groovefests, y'know?
Some of the songs are catchy, and Alex Marquez is a good drummer and a worthy replacement for Vinny Daze. But at the end of the day, this is like observing that a piece of shit is shiny and glittery. Time Bomb sucks, no two ways about. The best thing about it is that the band called it quits and didn't record 10 crappy follow-ups like Sepultura and Slayer. For St Anger fans only.
Standouts: "Mongoloid", "Time Bomb"
Well of course this album will get rated poorly without a doubt. This was a band well known in the late 80's and early 90's for their original styled brutal mix of death and thrash metal only comparable to bands such as Malevolent Creation, Sepultura, Devastation, Exhorder, Morbid Saint..but with a more devastating touch..enough to satisfy fans of brutal death and possibly scare away most middle of the road thrash fans.
Anyways, being a fan of the brutal thrash/death style pummeled out by this insane band, Time Bomb is a major let down. However, I can NOT blame Demolition Hammer for this. The band was disbanded after epidemic of violence. Derek and Steve were the only original members featured on Time Bomb. They even said themselves that they did not want to release Time Bomb under the Demolition Hammer name. Vinnie and others went to play in Deviate and Derek and Steve would not continue Demolition Hammer without the entire crew. The album was intended to be in the hardcore/groove style that was popular at the time...similar to Biohazzard, Life of Agony, Pantera with some slight originality from Marquez (the brutallizer) Marquez is a very tight drummer and his drumming is most definitely the highlight of this album.
For fans of groove, you may enjoy this album. It is filled with slow chugging groove riffs with out any thrashful destruction or the brutality that came out of the first two albums. There are only two solos, one being a slow and ineffective one and the other not really standing out too much. Once again however, alex marquez never lets down on the drums. It reminds me of a worse version of The Law by Exhorder....Exhorder however, still had quality riffage and song writing still giving homage to death and thrash metal. Time Bomb however, is just a mostly boring and repetitious effort without many good tracks. A few tracks are listenable and decent enough to play over a few times such as Unidentified, Time Bomb, Power struggle. The title track has some thrashy elements. Most of the album is just slow and mid paced..and it is intended to be that way.
Do not hate this album because it was really unintended to be released as a Demolition Hammer album. It simply was released at the wrong place and the wrong time. If this was a different band, they probably would have ve had more respect and a bigger following. But to the fans, they let everyone down by submerging themselves in the groove/hardcore scene.
Oh well, two outta three ain't bad(at least according to Meatloaf?) But for a band like Demolition Hammer, to release two spectacular albums and then resort to an album of this calibre is quite unfathomable. The fact that the guitars are down a full step, and the once catchy and melodic guitar solos have all but disappeared, makes for a rather large let down to the fans of their earlier material. By point of fact, there are NO guitar solos, only one short little generic embelishment in the song "mongoloid". Now onto the lyrics, there still OK in terms of creativity and general ideas, but the sincerity and catchy choruses that were rampant on the last two albums just aren't there. In fact the song Time Bomb has only one verse, chorus, bridge and then back to the chorus? What the fuck? All complaints aside though, there still are some decent attributes to this disc. Steve's voice is still brutal and awesome, he truly gives a terrifying performance(in a good way) on this album. His gutteral throating ability allows the listener to feel the angry emotion that is associated with some of the lyrical content. As for the drumming, Alex may not be as good as Vinny Daze, but then again very few people could've filled Vinny's shoes. "The Brutalizer" Marquez definately does some interesting stuff on the drums and some of his double bass stuff is very impressive. Also check out some of the hardware stuff going on during the buildup in the intro part of the title track.
Another cool thing about this album is the samples used in the opening track Under The Table, which were taken from the Al Pacino flick Serpico.
Not bad but not great!