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The Dawn of Dying might have just been a one-off, a curiosity of country Wild West thrash that was anomalously concocted out of Germany of all fucking places. But Alex Kraft decided that after six years, the trail had grown too cold, and once again demanded the beating of hooves, the wake of covered wagons, and the sounds of gunfire ringing off across its open prairies. So, well after the dust had cleared, the spurs had rusted and the outlaws had been hung, the Desperadoz returned, changing the -s in their name to the -z, and The Legend and the Truth was born. This time, instead of just having his buddy Tom Angelripper handle the vocals, Kraft has decided to take on the duty himself with some cleaner pipes that remind one more of Layne from Alice in Chains or Ian from The Cult than the heavily Sodomized debut.
It's certainly a competent replacement, and a fine fit for the better production of this album, but I actually found it more agreeable to my own tastes when Angelripper was present. Not that he would have been required for a repeat, but the coolest thing about the debut was that it was a Wild West THRASH album, for the most part, and that contrast of thematic manliness and wanton aggression gave it a unique quality. I don't really want to hear something that's just a Wild West rock album, more or less Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory" mixed with Dirt or Facelift, with perhaps some added meat to the sparse metal guitars and less pop readiness. Granted, the vocals here are quite professional sounding, but the whole album reeks of safety when compared to its predecessor, and I could feel my interesting here numbing after only a few tunes...
There really is nothing heavy about this album, anywhere. It's far more focused on its concept as a Wyatt Earp biography, and at best you'll get some open chords under huge swathes of clean country sounds, rock drumming and other instrumentation as fits its theatrical nature. A few of the songs have some chugging patterns, like "OK Corral" and "Friends 'Till the End", but I feel once again drawn to the Alice in Chains comparison, because these are about as metal as "We Die Young" from that Seattle band's debut. Then there are the various little narrative segues, or the cover of the Rawhide theme, and goofy pieces like "Hellbilly Square" which break up any of the serious qualities the album might otherwise have had.
In summation, this was a pretty big disappointment, and in retrospect I almost wish the project had just been laid to rest after the debut. Kraft tries to season the record with a slew of guest appearances from Tobias Sammett, Joacim Cans, Doro Pesch, Michael Weikath and so forth (including Tom Angelripper on the bonus track), but it doesn't add any dimension of character, just the usual minimal celebrity contributions. It's not completely void of decent music, especially as the atmosphere in songs like "First Blood" and "OK Corral" maintains the Western aesthetic so well, and the intro title track is quite glorious, perfect for a TV show, but of the 50 minutes, there are maybe 15-20 that are actually worth hearing. The concept makes sense, but it seems like Kraft went for a shallower musical experience to try and find a greater exposure, and the dream of an epic Western thrash masterpiece that fused the good looks of The Dawn of Dying with superior riffing force ends here.