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I'll seal my fate but thanks for offering a choice - 52%

autothrall, March 7th, 2011

Reckless Tide are another of the bands to emerge in the 21st century through the Armageddon Music imprint, and their debut Repent or Seal Your Fate shows quite a bit of variation in its style, fusing old school groove/thrash with elements of melodic death metal and some clean vocal chorus sequences that aren't entirely cringe inducing, almost sounding at times like James Hetfield, at others like a power metal or hard rock front man if he were to jam with Hate Squad or The Defaced. But primarily, the songs are stuffed with a thick, almost too thick guitar tune and more brutal, blunt edged vocals that sound more like Marco Aro fronting The Haunted than the thrash of the 80s that many adhere to with a steadfast loyalty.

But every now and then, Repent or Seal Your Fate will put out the stops and offer a half decent riff assault that, while not perfect, at least rips out some more authentic energy. Tracks like "Desperation" and "Self Destruct" might have a steady velocity and some interesting mix of vocals, but the meaty guitars never create the necessary violence, whereas "Misery" has it for at least a minute or so. But there are honestly some really dumb moves here, like the swaggering groove metal of "The Hunt" with its truly weak lyrics that just don't translate into the sharper melodic chorus very well; or "Damned For Now and Nevermore" and "To Die for Creativity", which both open with a half decent melodic death metal styled intro and then devolve into incredibly dull thrashing notations. A few songs manage to half-rock like "Demons and Dictators" and "Equality", but there are just as many constituted of nothing more than filler.

A lot of folks out in the audience hearing this album would far more quickly label it as melodeath with some groove, similar to Carnal Forge, The Haunted, or even in some spots Soilwork (minus the better songwriting), much of which is arguably thrash-based to begin with, but a little credit can be given to the Germans for at least trying to modernize the brand instead of simply writing songs called "Thrash _ _ _ _ _" or endless hymns of inebriation. The mix of vocals is fairly frustrating, because they're clearly trying to add something distinct and end up sounding scattershot; but then, if you're into bands like Shadows Fall this is just par for the course. The Reckless Tide debut definitely punches the listener in the face a few times, but only at random, and it never pulls you more directly into its melee. I think I'll pass.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com