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Too late, too late - 60%

Felix 1666, October 1st, 2017

Backwater are back after a very brief pause… that took just 27 years. To be specific, only guitarist Thomas Guschelbauer returned while his former companions seem to be lost somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Well, it is nice to know that he still likes to play metal, but quite honestly, this album has nothing to do with the old Backwater sound. Of course, further development is not forbidden. Nevertheless, it would had been a good idea to release this full-length under a different name instead of raising wrong expectations.

Instead of creating new pieces at the interface of punk and metal that in order to build a bridge to their own past, the guys seem to be stressed while playing a kind of old men metal. After a lively start (“Arise”), they offer the viscous “New Fire” that sounds like the last breath of a dying man. It seems like they had to work very hard to record this song, any form of creative lightness is missing. Unfortunately, this does not remain an isolated case. More songs sound as stale as if they had been recorded 20 years ago. To add insult to injury, this comes together with the mediocre voice of Oliver Hirsch which is powerful but anything else but extraordinary.

Some of the choruses create suspense (“Deepest Black” / “Take Extreme Forms”), but a good chorus alone does not lead to a convincing song. Not even the fact that the modern production knows how to please can change this dissatisfying situation. There are just too many songs that don´t get straight to the point. Unfortunately, the prevailing mid-tempo and the somehow blurry riffs are not helpful, too. Even though their second album had already neglected their punk roots, it generated a great amount of energy while “Take Extreme Forms” exactly lacks of this element.

To be honest, Backwater were at no time an important part of the German thrash / speed metal explosion of the mid-eighties. I liked their albums, but in general, they were regarded as the clowns of the scene and it makes to sense to discuss whether this was justified or not. Despite the fact, that the band delivers a few fairly appealing tunes like “Run or Die”, I fear that this reunion will remain largely unnoticed. Cynically speaking, at least this fact connects this album with their previous, also widely ignored, outputs.

Originally written for Metalegion.com