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A Mixed Bag - 75%

CrystalMountain, February 15th, 2009

Abattoir are a band not far removed from other early power/speed metal bands from America, similarities to Metal Church, Helstar, and Virgin Steele aren't hard to find. If you are familiar with those bands, then you will know what to expect here. Some fast paced heavy metal, a bit of a raw sound, over the top vocals, and shredding solos. Their singer actually sounds a bit like David Defeis(Virgin Steel) sounded around this time(eg Noble Savage) but not quite as good. He doesn't really have much of a range, or even a good voice for that matter, but he does make up for it with some attitude. The guitars are great, good riffs, good solos, quality stuff. The album has two major flaws, one is the songwriting. It's not bad for the most part, the majority of the songs are good, but they lack hooks. And in this type of music you need good, catchy riffs and melodies to make your songs come to life. The other flaw is the lifeless production, it's not bad really, but it's too thin, and there's way too much treble, the bass is lost, etc. I guess for a very obscure band from 1986, it could have been a lot worse.

The best songs on the album are mostly the Virgin Steele style speed metal monsters. Songs like "Night of the Knife," "Hammer of the Gods," and "Bring on the Damned" are seriously good speed metal. Some of the slower, mid paced songs are decent as well. "Nothing Sacred" has some of the best hooks and melodies on the album, and is easily the catchiest song on here, though its a little cheesy. "Temptations of the Flesh" has a good mid-paced driving rythym, in more of a NWOBHM style. "The Only Safe Place" is the highlight of the album, it starts off tame enough, with some slow chugging riffs but quickly launches off into aggressive speed metal. Good thrashy riffs, some great shredding, and a catchy Maiden sounding chorus. The solos and leads in this song are surprisingly very good.

But as I stated in the title, this is really a mixed bag. Pretty much half of the songs are good, and half are worthless. Two throw-away instrumental tracks at the beginning and end of the album, at least they didn't put them in the middle I guess. The album also lacks any really awesome songs that just make you say "fuck this is bad ass!" But for those of us who are fans of this type of music, it's still quality stuff.