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With improvements came some changes - 80%

Xeogred, April 29th, 2007

Its interesting how much the transition from their debut album to this one reminds me of Savage Grace's move from "Master of Disguise" to "After the Fall from Grace". The emphasis on speed and innovation is still definitely there, but at the same time it does feel like a very different side of the band. Maybe its the new vocalist who led these changes, maybe not? With drastic improvements also came some changes, some for the best and some that weren't so great.

The production is superior to their debut by tenfold. My problem with the debut's production was also its inconsistency, quality seemed to bounce around from track to track. That's hardly the case here. Another major improvement is the length of this album. Its nearly twice as long as their debut, which is obviously nice.

The one change I really don't enjoy so much is the replacement of previous vocalist Steve Gaines with Mike Towers. Mike Towers manages to sound quite a bit like Chastain's original female vocalist Leather Leone (interestingly enough, this album sounds quite a bit like Chastain). He could also probably be slightly compared to Ralf Scheepers. The vocals aren't bad at all, and the chorus's here are as catchy as ever, but Towers lacks the aggression and originality Gaines had. Another thing as previous reviewers have pointed out, the 'vicious attack' and raw power they had is a bit lost here. It does feel a bit held back from time to time, and sadly some of the songs on here aren't too memorable.

Overall though this album is a very good. The intro track has that generic wind blowing in the background, but it also brings in some great guitarwork and sets you up for one of the best tracks on here, Bring on the Damned. Just like their first track on their debut (the track Screams of the Grave), this song comes at you like a stampede and explodes with its extremely catchy chorus. The fourth track sounds a bit too much like Chastain though, and possibly a bit too happy, not to mention the synth's here are a bit silly. The tracks after this don't really stand out too much either. I'd say it really picks back up with Temptations of the Flesh, coming off a little faster and tougher than the previous tracks. This quality seems to continue for the rest of the album, and the final track Night of the Knife definitely stands out as one of the best. Starts off with some great shredding and gallops away like something you could have heard on their debut.

In the end this is another great album from the obscure Abattoir, and sadly it would be their last full length album. Its different compared to their debut, but at the same time this is still something you'd only find underground. If you really like Savage Grace's "After the Fall From Grace", Chastain, and other obscure 80's speed/power metal bands you'll probably enjoy this one. Overall I may prefer their debut over this, but I'm giving them the same rating because of the drastic improvements with the production and for the length of this album being twice as long as its former. Definitely worth hearing for the fans.