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Northern Finland's Frontlines return with their third release, 'Unleash the Beast'. This four-track EP still tastes like Texas ribs and Shiner beer. Its heavy stomping groove is familiar for the fans of the band, as this quartet still closely tailgate good ol' Pantera. I do not mean early Pantera, but their sound from 'Vulgar Display of Power' (1992) to the 2000 farewell album 'Reinventing the Steel'.
'Rise above' is a nicely rolling opener with bad-ass riffage and angry roared vocals (you can sense the spit flying, and yes, it sounds a bit like Phil Anselmo). The guitar, which is pure Dimebag Darrell worship, is tuned pretty down, and is backed up by a very tight rhythm section. Frontlines play precisely, but don't lack of groove, which is a brilliant accomplishment. When it's time for a guitar solo, it's similar to Pantera, as there is no rhythm guitar. A bit slower 'Mind Default Arrow' deals more groove to the world, and features a hugely catchy chorus. This stuff is simply exhilarating! Some real dilated guitar strings stuff on 'My Own Path', reminding of 'Far beyond Driven' (Pantera, 1994). Again, similar gimmicks use as earlier. The title track ups the stake after a bit crummier song, but does not quite reach the heights of opening duo. The songs are all kept in bearable lengths.
The production on this EP is filled with quality. However, I wished for a tad more biting or ripping guitar tone. I hear no triggers utilized. It all sounds authentic. This time around the band have managed to get some cover artwork, too.
Frontlines succeed much better than, for example Pissing Razors, in sounding like Pantera, but always having some kind of their own shine. It's not total aping, just feeling more like a homage to Texan legends who will never ever return. I rather listen to Frontlines than Damageplan or Hellyeah.