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I demand that the singer be punished - 45%

GodlessDolphin, January 29th, 2005

Unsurprisingly, given when they were formed, Pandemonium sounds a lot like a NWOBHM band. A second-rate NWOBHM band. Or, more accurately, a second-rate American band trying (and failing) to emulate NWOBHM music. "Road I'm Traveling" starts the album off and it's not too bad, although nothing spectacular: inoffensive guitars, unambitious songwriting, the metal equivalent of smooth jazz. Then "Heavy Metal Soldiers" arrives and the album drops like a stone. The vocalist is the main culprit. He seems to be shooting for a Kevin Heybourne (Angel Witch) kind of sound, but plays it way too syrupy, so that his vocals end up sounding sickeningly sweet at times. For the worst example of this, check out "Girls in Love," which is just nauseatingly saccharine, comparable to a Firehouse ballad, perhaps. A more aggressive vocalist would have made 'Heavy Metal Soldiers' a better record, but it wouldn't have saved it. Though there are some decent ideas here, Pandemonium is hampered by a restrained production and songwriting that plays it safe and dumb. Safe like the tepid and plain "Little Lady Liar", dumb like the awkward stuttering rhythm and fey "ray-di-AYYY" chant in "Radiation Day". Did I mention that these are some of the worst song titles I've ever heard? Mediocre music doesn't usually move me to any kind of emotion, but 'Heavy Metal Soldiers' is just maddening, as it seems that Pandemonium went to great lengths to ensure that nothing good would come of their efforts. And so this ends up being one of the justly-forgotten pieces of eighties metal history. (I also have this band's 'Hole in the Sky', but someone else at Metal Archives can take up that cross, I've suffered enough.)