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Give Yourself a Reason to Explode! - 90%

Twisted_Psychology, May 17th, 2009

Have you ever wondered what happened to Rowan Robertson after he left Dio in the early 90's? Curious about what Jeff Duncan does with his time away from Armored Saint? The answers to both questions can be found in the powerful sound of DC4.

Now, let's get one thing out of the way: This sounds next to nothing like the bands that I just listed. It lacks the epic leanings of the Saint and lacks the darkness of "Lock Up the Wolves." Instead, we are treated to a gritty style inspired by the likes of bands such as Motorhead and classic AC/DC. The guitar riffs are powerful yet somehow accessible, the rhythm section is always prominent and providing great grooves, and the vocals compensate for a slightly limited range with great sing-along lines and overall attitude. In fact, Jeff Duncan's vocals kind of bring to mind some kind of cross between Jag Panzer's Harry Conklin and Prophet of St. Madness.

The songs themselves also provide a solid balance between heaviness and accessibility. "Explode" and "Rock 'n Roll Disease" are both fast paced tracks that feature high octane guitar and bass playing and powerfully delivered vocals. "Experiment" and "God Complex" are both strong mid-tempo songs with the former featuring a grinding main riff, catchy vocal lines, and a great build-up during the final chorus. "Candy Caine" is a sleazy rocker with some particularly witty lyrics to boot. With its building introduction and a sweeping chorus, I think "This is What You Wanted" may be my favorite track on the album.

While the rest of the songs on the album seem to pale in comparison to the previously mentioned highlights, this is a pretty solid album with few weak points. A few riffs are somewhat generic and a few songs may similar to one another at times, but they are generally made up for with a skillful execution.

Pros:
1) A strong balance of heaviness and accessibility
2) Tight riffs, solid rhythms, and energetic vocals
3) There is something here for just about any kind of metalhead

Cons:
1) A few filler tracks here and there
2) A few generic riffs

Current Favorites:
"Explode," "Experiment," "This is What You Wanted," "God Complex," and "Candy Caine"