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The worst thing that can happen to a band is when they start repeating themselves with each album. Thank God, Dave Lombardo was too clever and too experienced to allow something like this to happen. Their debut, Power of… contained dynamites like Ostracized and Hostage to Heaven that obliterated us and destroyed our pitiful ears with the straight-in-your-face thrash metal. Their second album, released in 1997 was titled Nemesis, after the name of a Greek ancient deity that punished those who did wrong and unjust.
Nemesis was a development for the band. This time they decided or even risked, if you prefer, to add more elements to their music like atmosphere, melodies and generally they approached metal in a wider attitude. Only under this aspect can one appreciate compositions like Descending Darkness, The Summoning or the six-minute long Code of Silence. They definitely lack in speed and are not thrash metal to the bone but they’ve got heavy guitars and many interesting breaks. Chambers’ vocals are not so aggressive now but still they fit the climate perfectly. The rhythm section is very steady and Lombardo is… well, he’s only being himself!
But for heaven’s sake do not think that Nemesis denies its thrash base. Because the scales balance under the tremendous weight of explosive, titanic songs like Rusty Nail, War Between One and my favorite Pathetic Liar. These are songs bound to cause merciless headbanging with the fast sharp riffs, thrash drumming and great amounts of energy. All these are amplified by the flawless production that helps the instruments build a metal wall around them, sounding so clear.
This album may be less energetic than Power… but it is more mature and thus very charming and luring. Though for my taste it is one step below its predecessor, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is worse. Do not ignore and underestimate it or else Nemesis will punish you!