without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Two years after the smashing debut album "Mindfield" was released via Roadrunner Records, Swedish post-thrash/death metal act Face Down released its second album in early 1998, entitled "The Twisted Rule The Wicked". Some things had changed during those two years - a few line-up changes, a label change, and probably a whole lot more. We get to understand this as my first expression is that these guys seemed to be really pissed off during this period - at probably pretty much everything and everyone.
While "Mindfield" was rooted in a slower kind of pissed off 90's metal, like bands such as early Machine Head, Pantera, Fear Factory, or fellow swedes B-Thong and Misery Loves Company, this one has certainly geared up a few levels. It's overall more brutal in terms of speed, aggression and riffing, coming closer to the death metal aggression of bands such as Dismember and Entombed rather than Machine Head. The album's production also proves this, as it's an overall rawer and dirtier sound this time around.
The album was originally recorded with Thomas Skogsberg who did all the legendary Swedish death metal albums in the 90's, but the band's new label Nuclear Blast apparently didn't approve of the final product. The band therefore re-recorded almost the whole album with "Mindfield" producer Daniel Bergstrand instead. There are still three tunes recorded with Skogsberg present here, and you can clearly hear in the industrial "Top Of The World" that it has a sound similar to Dismember's "Death Metal" album, which was released the previous year, whilst the other tracks sound groovier and cleaner.
The album's twelve songs still have the same kind of arrangements and patterns that Face Down presented on their debut, with no guitar solos present apart from in "Cleansweep". Although the album also is different in some ways to "Mindfield", the songs still feel very much like Face Down. The lyrical themes deal with the same kind of subjects as well.
The line-up changes have improved, however, with then new drummer Peter Stjärnvind (who would soon leave to replace Nicke Andersson in Entombed) definitely being a step up. Compared to the band's old drummer Richard Bång, Peter plays in a similar style but with more intensity and aggression, while he also plays very precisely. Henrik Blomquist who did "audio warfare" (simply just sampling) is gone, but we still get some movie samples this time around as well. The band also had some guest musician doing keyboards on "Mindfield", but those are long gone on this record. It's clear that the band aimed for an angrier and rawer sound, which to my disappointment leaves out much of the atmosphere and musical depth Face Down got into their music before. There are no tunes that sound like "Hatred" or "Holy Rage" from the debut here, and I really dug that shit.
My conclusion is that this album ultimately is a somewhat stripped-down, angrier and more brutal album than its predecessor. It's a really solid collection of headbangers, moshers and fighting themes present here, but it tends to get somewhat repetitive in the long run. I really miss the variety in songs and track-list layout of "Mindfield" here, as it's a much more dynamic listening experience than this one. However, if you are really pissed off, fighting some douchebag, or if your girlfriend left you and your reaction is anger rather than depression and Type O Negative, then this album is very much suitable for you.
Stand-outs: Self-Appointed God, Waste, Bed Of Roaches, Cleansweep.
Now this is how most of the 90's metal albums (Machine Head, Pantera, Fear Factory, Sepultura, etc.) SHOULD have sounded. Each of the above mentioned bands released 2-3 albums in the 90's that were good to great, but none as downright headcrushing as this. Sure, "Burn My Eyes", " Demanufacture", Chaos AD", Vulgar Display"...etc were better albums, but none kick your arse like this beast.
This album opens with a quote from the great Aussie movie "Romper Stomper" and quickly follows with a blastbeat, and it's all on from then. Marco Aro provides great vocals throughout, the guitars have a good, if slightly muddy sound, and the bass can be heard fairly clearly. The Drums you ask? Well to me, this is the best drumming performance on an album in this type of groove/post thrash/90's/woolly hat metal full stop.
There is enough variance in the songs on this album to avoid monotony, but changes aren't that drastic that you think you're listening to a Mike Patton album. To sum up, if you're a fan of 90's metal BUY this album. I guarantee you won;t be disappointed (if you are, i will pay yoou for the CD).