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Let me just start by saying that I love thrash. I even totally understand and dig thrash with playful and "weak" vocals (Belladonna-fronted Anthrax, for example)...but this album greatly perturbs me. I will elaborate.
See, just like the old days, I picked this one up for the album cover. I wasn't aware that it would be nostalgic thrash metal. When I heard the riffs, my expectation for oppressive death or black metal vocals did shift, causing me to anticipate some sinister, cutting, appropriate thrash metal shouts and singing. Boy oh boy. Was I wrong. I will get to this later, after mentioning the riffs and overall instrumental goodness.
This band has tons of appeal when it comes to their aural assault. Guitars, bass, and anxious, tight drums nicely recall greats such as thrash-era Metallica, Flotsam And Jetsam, Testament, etc. In fact, some of the instrumentation greatly confuses me. Why, dear God...WHY...did musicians that can make such great choices on notes, rhythms, harmonies, and dynamics choose to incorporate the aforementioned "weak" clean tones that- while recalling Anthrax- do not have the elastic range of notes that Mr. Joey of that very band possesses. In fact, there's no notes at all. Just weak, teenage-ranged, ranting...not even shouting. As a vocalist myself; I *know* that anyone with rhythm and timing (the ONLY thing this man has mildly mastered) has the capacity to add a bit of tonality, even gruffness to his voice. This is thrash. You don't have to sound immaculate. But lazy? The intensity of the music will not allow for such choices. If this album were playful (again- like Anthrax), a little of the tonal weakness could be forgiven. Only a little. And "Danny Carnage" doesn't even fill in some of this lack of talent by playing an instrument.
I know. This is the most negative and unforgiving review ever penned by yours truly. But dammit. I wanted more from this. Just chalk it up to my status as a musician, myself. I've had throat surgery, and know that (even with throat problems) there is no excuse for this childishness. It's deafeningly obvious that this band appreciates intensity. Look at the album cover, the lyrics; listen to the drums and stringed-instruments. If they wanna be brutal in any way...they just need to shoot this guy....or at least slit his throat so he'll sound a little sicker.