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It had potential. Too bad… - 63%

RageW, November 24th, 2008

Raise Hell is a Swedish thrash metal band, and, while better than most of what comes out of there (about 80% is bad melodeath or Gothenburg), it still isn't very remarkable. There are some decent riffs here and there, but they decided to go the 'modern' way of metal, and instead of having crushing thrash riffs everywhere, they down-tune the guitars several steps down and play watered down riffs, believing it sounds 'heavier'. Although, actually, it's kinda good, since we're talking a 2000 release, when bands like Corn and Limp Bizkit were at the top of the scene. But, is it really good? Fuck no, it's a third-rate thrash album, with really silly hardcore vocals; and it's not very catchy at all.

This band had potential, at least with this album. But it's lacking plenty of kickass'ness, such as a fast number; everything here doesn't go over 180bpms, and there are no guitar solos anywhere to be found, save for some melodies, which always come at the end. There's some good stuff to be found here, like the opener riff to "Dance With the Devil", which is pretty much Slayer with more down-tuning. But those hardcor-ish vocals aren't very good. Not only they are really monotonous, but they tend to be waaay to hard in the mix, which drowns the riffs behind. The production is really modern; with the drums and guitars very fucking loud in the instrumental passages, and then, the drums get louder and the guitars quiet down during the verses, so the vocals can get to maximum volume. Obviously, this drowns whatever riffs the verses had in the back; and if you're gonna screw up the riffs when the vocalist is singing...Why have verse riffs at all? So, during the verses, you just hear the vocals, and the drums, which are also really loud in the back. Sadly, there are no guitar solos to save the day, sometimes, they'll put some 15 seconds shred passage, but it's not really connected to anything; and the rest, they're just random melodies thrown there for no apparent reason.

"No Pulse" also begins with a cool riff, but then they put some weird melody over everything, that just sounds too out of place. However, the riff behind the vocals during the verses is pretty good. And near the middle there's a really catchy bridge, but they don't carry on with it, and it leaves you with a weird feeling that they just included it there for the sake of having a longer song. There seems to be this thing with Swedish bands, of including a hundred different ideas in a song, but just develop them until the middle. Instead, they should focus on one single thing, like a very good riff, or a catchy chorus, and doing that well.

Then, think about this: There are no awesome riffs, no "wow where the fuck did that just came from!" moments of glory, no over the top vocals, and no shreddy solos anywhere. That gives you a very boring experience, and while not bad in itself, it's not very enjoyable. All of Not Dead Yet is full of that; underdeveloped ideas that sound like they could have made really good songs, like that little solo in "User of Poison", but it never goes anywhere, and then the song goes back to where it was before the solo.

At the end though, we have an 8 minutes long song called "Soulcollector". It's pretty standard for this album, but near the mid there's a really cool acoustic interlude, which gives it a very progressive feel. It also has these Anthrax-like shouted backing vocals, but then the song starts dragging on; with a very mid-paced riff. And the last seconds are clean vocals saying "I am the soul collector!", well, that part at least, is really good! In fact, the singer should have used that style much more, instead of reserving it for the last seconds of the last track!

So, it's a very average album. Not bad, not really good; and it has really boring moments in which you just want to press the 'skip' button. But, there are hardly any moments that make it worth it; and you can get lost near the mid and stop paying attention to the album. Get it, if just for about 4 or 5 worthy songs out of 9.