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should have stayed behind the drums - 38%

odradek, January 19th, 2007

Glenn Evans, formerly of Nuclear Assault, struck it out on his own and formed C.I.A., where he proceeded to step out from behind the drum kit and take over guitar, bass, and vocals. "In the Red" exhibits Evans' ample drumming talent, but alas also his blatant disregard for the concept of harmony.

The rhythm section is solid, brilliant at times. The drum beats and fills are dynamic and inventive, and the rhythm guitar doesn't stray far from the typical 80s thrash patterns. Evans' vocals, on the other hand, are god-awful. His strained delivery, ranging from hoarse talk to muted shout, wanders up and down in pitch but seemingly never makes an effort to land on any particular note. The lyrics are weak as well, with a lot of the songs using a short phrase shouted over and over as a chorus (ala Anthrax). The guitar solos, including guest appearances from Nuclear Assault bandmates Dan Lilker and Anthony Bramante, lean heavily on whammy-bar wankery, only adding further discord to the already raging cacophony.

"In the Red" does include an instrumental track, "Moby Dick Part 2"; and while here one might think was the band's chance to delight us with some adventurous rhythms unencumbered by Evans' grating voice, instead the track is one long, directionless, incoherent drum solo; which, despite whatever technical mastery might have been needed to play it, sounds more like someone throwing a drum kit down a flight of stairs than an actual song.

The final track, "Samantha", ends abruptly with the lead guitar striking a sour note and then a quick fade-out. Awkward indeed, but somehow a fitting summary for the entire album.