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Dismantle > Satanic Force > Reviews
Dismantle - Satanic Force

Modern thrash that doesn't automatically suck - 70%

psychosisholocausto, May 12th, 2013

The thrash revival movement is a touchy subject within metal circles. Some consider the bands to be nothing more than carbon copies of their influences that are only in it for free weed and money, whereas others see certain bands (Vektor) as being the future of metal. With a title such as Satanic Force, you would be right to think that L.A. based band Dismantle are nothing more than just another thrash band attempting to cash in on the tremolo picking infested walls of sound that bands such as Slayer created in the 1980's. This would not be correct, however, as the band display throughout their entire debut.

The guitar work to this release is mainly a mixture of tuneless shredding solos and lightning fast tremolo picking with the odd chord based riff thrown in to mix it up a little bit. It is very effective despite mainly sounding samey, and carries the album forward at a quick pace. The title track varies things up a little bit with a rather cool mid-paced riff around one minute in that brings back fond memories of the slower sections of some early Slayer tracks, before this leads straight into a manic solo and the tremolo picking again. The drums are fast and use a lot of double bass, with fills found frequently. This is the perfect example of a little-known band where the members are all incredibly talented, as the drummer is far better than many of the better known thrash drummers such as Lars Ulrich and even Dave Lombardo. The bass is constantly audible and actually strains to play something aside from the usual format of just following the guitars.

This album also has one hell of an atmosphere throughout, kept intact by the relentless assault on the ears. Vile Spell kicks the album off with its eerie dual guitar set-up where one guitarist is tremolo picking whilst the other plays some higher pitched notes over the top of it, descending the fret board steadily. Then the verse riff kicks in with "Relentless Warrior" shrieking and shouting his blasphemous lyrics in a demonic voice that reminds me so much of Don Doty's performance on the title track of Darkness Descends. The vocals are the best thing about Satanic Force, with a lot of mid-range thrash shouting and high pitched screaming that keeps it feeling intense and varied throughout. The lyrics mainly speak of the devil, showing a lot of homage to Slayer, but are not particularly poorly written like the thousands of clones of that particular band that there has been over the years.

One of the highlights of this album would be the solo to Vile Spell, which quickly runs up and down all six strings and sounds so beautiful that it is scarcely real. Many of the solos here are just the usual Kerry King ripoff solos that involve abuse of the whammy bar and a lot of random notes on the bottom two strings but this song is actually more interesting than that with its soloing, and a lot more creative. Satanic Metal might at first just sound like another day at the office for this band but it is by far the strongest track here. The pacing is absolutely fantastic and it just sounds so frantic, with its incessant use of tremolo picking and rapidly delivered vocals. The pre-chorus riff and chorus riff are two of the strongest on the album, with the former just sounding so evil and cruel. It is songs like this one that show the band off as being a force to be reckoned with in modern thrash. This track also has an amazing mid-paced riff following the solo that is quite brief but shows off a lot of intelligence in the writing.

This is a superb debut album from the band, although it does not do everything right. There is not a whole lot of variety on Satanic Force, with the usual assortment of tremolo picked riffs and tuneless solos detracting a little from the product as it drags on toward the end. Thankfully this is a well-executed riff fest that has a lot of good moments to make up for that.

Straight from the hellish graveyards!!! - 91%

hells_unicorn, April 29th, 2013

When dealing with the insurmountable prospect of trying to do something original with a style that has been explored from end to end since 1983, most thrash revivalist bands have opted to instead explore the realm of sheer relentlessness. This entails throwing caution to the wind, spitting in it, and moving aside quickly enough to let it hit the jerk behind you who can't shut up about how metal sucks right square in the mouth. Some bands out of California have tried to rekindle this flame that was once breathed out of the mighty dragon that was Slayer and its many brother fire-spitting creatures a la Vio-Lence and Dark Angel, with Fueled By Fire even going to far as to depict a jeans toting thrasher choking and beating up a bunch of Emo hipsters. However, one band out of Rosemead going by the name Dismantle managed to utterly leave most of the competition in the dust with one of the most insanely aggressive fits of speed/thrash in 2009 in "Satanic Force".

For those who fell in love with the riveting frenzy of riffs and solos heard on "Darkness Descends" and "Eternal Nightmare", this is cut from exactly the same grain, though exaggerated almost to the point of otherworldly proportions and conjuring up images of a power trio of murderous cyborgs firing their death rays with digital precision. Slow and atmospheric sections are few and far between on here, though there is one menacing beast of an acoustic interlude interlaced with a mess of melodic motives at the beginning of "Tales Of The Wicked" before launching into warp speed. A lot of these songs would scream utter "Persecution Mania" worship save for the fact that vocalist Adam R. Warrior sounds like the 16 year old son of Tom Araya on crack, with a gruff-infused snarl somewhat reminiscent of Mark Osegueda, though shattering a window every 40 or 50 seconds with one of those primal shrieks that Araya would employ on "Show No Mercy", but even higher in pitch. The only vocalist in recent time who has ever matched this level of mayhem is Deathhammer screamer Sergeant Salsten, though his mannerisms are quite black and closer to that of Quorthon and Tom Angelripper, whereas Warrior is a bit more mainline thrash in his approach.

As previously stated, "Satanic Force" is an unrelenting exercise in speed riff madness, and consequently it tends to sound largely the same from start to finish, not all that different from a number of mid to late 80s death/thrash classics such as "Seven Churches", "Beneath The Remains" and "Scream Bloody Gore". Speaking of which, "Ritual Of The Dead" gets dangerously closer to sounding like something heard off of "Death" widely praised debut album, going from a doom-like trudge for the first 45 seconds before launching to full speed. Technically speaking, the only thing that keeps this from morphing into a death/thrash song is the lighter and nimbler tone of the guitars and Adam's non-guttural vocals. Much of the rest of this album tends to stick to devouring the false ones with little or no slow downs to speak of, conjuring up images of a zombie apocalypse with ghouls capable of sprinting rather than hobbling in near slow motion. There are no dull songs to speak of, but "Vile Spell" and "Crucify" pack a punch with the force of a cannonball to the head and an SUV up the ass simultaneously.

Perhaps the lone criticism that can be launched at this album is that the high pitched screams are over-used slightly, though anyone who has heard Deathhammer's "Onward To The Pits" will not a similarly exaggerated vocal performance. It actually fits the character of the music quite well given that the sheer level of speed and busyness of the guitars is comparable to the extreme lyrical content of early Cannibal Corpse. This is an album that is unapologetic in its desire to dismantle the competition and place the pieces of their mangled cadavers in 10 neat 3-5 minute rows by organ group in chronological order to their time of death. Don't expect originality, but definitely expect a roller-coaster ride similar to what happens after Captain Picard yells "Engage!".

100% Pure Satanic Metal! - 89%

amievil502, May 7th, 2011

Dismantle's "Satanic Force" is the first album from the L.A. trio and it is amazing! At first glance, you may see the cover by Ed Repka and think, "Oh god..... another thrash revival band", but don't be fooled. Personally, I'm not a fan of new thrash, but this isn't your average Bonded By Blood mockery.

The vocals on this album have had some controversy, most likely because of the screams. When I say screams I don't mean black metal vocals. These screams are literally just the vocalist screaming his lungs out like a girl. Don't get me wrong, although high and feminine sounding, they sound great. He's not showing off any vocal abilities, but for some reason it goes great with the music. Besides the screams, I'll admit the vocals are pretty generic, but nothing like neo-thrash

If you're not into the screams and generic thrash vocals, the music on this release is brilliant. First off, the drummer of the band is Gio Loyola, the same drummer of Merciless Death, so you can expect pretty awesome and fast drumming. Second, the guitar riffs are genius! Although the release is thrash, the riffs are very original and have an evil feeling to it. This is what makes the album in my opinion. Finally, the bass is turned up loud enough to the point where you can hear it clearly through the guitar and drums, which is always a good thing to have even if the bass seems to be following the guitar for the whole album. My only complaint with the album is the repetitiveness. Every chorus sounds very similar and is usually just the name of the song said 4 times with a scream at the end, but is still very enjoyable.

If you decide to check this out, there are two possible outcomes. Either you'll love it or you'll laugh your ass off at the vocals. This is why I think that really anyone should check this out, including listeners of black, death, power, traditional, or thrash metal. I love this album and hate neo-thrash, so whether or not you like thrash, I recommend this album to you.

Thrash revival continues... - 70%

oldskullluxi, July 30th, 2009

The thrash revival continues... Like something could stop it now when the thrash boom has got strong winds blowing powerfully below it to carry it miles and years around the world - and presumably many more years to come, as it´s a common belief.

Dismantle is a young trio coming from Rosemead, California, and these fellows´ debut album, SATANIC FORCE, was released on a raising underground Chinese label AreaDeath Productions last year already. Dismantle do not offer any surprising moments on SATANIC FORCE with those 10 songs they have recorded for it, but only throw us an overload of speed/thrash metal frenzy that actually sounds pretty fun and entertaining to listen to. Dismantle are loyal to the past times of speed and thrash metal, drawing their main influences from early Whiplash (just listen to those Goddamn guitars in "Crypt Sacrifice"), SHOW NO MERCY era Slayer, early Dark Angel, early Kreator and even occasionally early Death (that riff in "Exorcistic Rites", starting from the 2:41 mark, sounds really familiar, I must say) - and the result sounds good and all that, but not any surprising or revolutionary by any means. However, as long as you are able to put energy and sheer enthusiasm into your playing and are even able to deliver it out through your songs in an ear-catching way, then you know you are on the right path.

And Dismantle are. They are able to keep things in the basics, seeming to have fun every time they gather to play their kind of fast-paced speed/thrash metal - and they just play their stuff straight from their hearts with such a dedication and emotion that surely does not leave any of us cold. At least Relentless Warrior´s high-pitched screams should be able to melt the ice around even the most skeptical of us, reminding me greatly of Tom Araya when he was in his twenties, full of unchannelled energy and young passion. Otherwise, it´s even frustrating to try to find something worth criticising from this album because it pleases these relatively old ears well enough. Dismantle play simple, honest and energetic combination of both old school speed and thrash metal, and they do their thing really well. I´m happy and satisfied, definitely! Now give Dismantle a chance to enter and blow your fuckin´ speakers to little pieces! ;o)

SHOOT THIS FUCKING VOCALIST IMMEDIATELY - 15%

BastardHead, June 6th, 2009

You want to know what makes a good album great? It's the little things. Small things like atmosphere, replayability, memorability, technicality, or any number of things. If the band in question is very good at something (for example: how Judas Priest has Rob Halford's voice or Sabbat's unrelenting speed and great lyrics), that particular something will usually stick out and serve as one of the main aspects as to why something is so great. Imagine if Walkyier was never the frontman for Sabbat, without his sharp lyrics and ferocious bark, a large spirit of the band would've been lost.

Now let's look at the flipside, what makes a mediocre album bad? Same thing, it's the little things. Into Eternity's flawed but potentially decent The Scattering of Ashes suffered one of the most horribly overproduced sounds I've ever heard, and Crystal Tears unfortunately plays the "female fronted" gimmick and as such is stuck with an awful frontwoman despite decent music. Californian three piece, Dismantle, is one of those mediocre bands with one hideous flaw that renders the entire album nearly unlistenable. In case the review title didn't give a sufficient enough clue as to what that flaw is, allow me to reiterate. Relentless Warrior needs to be fucking shot. Although such a treatment makes me worry that he'd let out one of his agonizing rape squeals if not shot in the face. Oh my lord, I understand that thrash is supposed to be an unrestrained style of music, and I also understand that the entire point of these random vocal cracks are just to let out the energy that the boys attempt to convey, but please make this guy stop. To fully grasp what I'm saying, let's hearken back to one of the best recordings of all time, Mercyful Fate's Nun's Have No Fun. You know that legendary crescendo of "Satan has taken his toll" at the end of "Corpse Without a Soul"? Remember at the height of the scream where King Diamond's voice cracks for a split second? Well this doofus can crack that squeal on command and is determined to never let you forget that he can do it. Honestly, this wouldn't be as annoying if it was used tastefully, in appropriate places, and happened maybe two or three times on the album. But no, this woman apparently sees a really big spider every forty fucking seconds because it happens constantly. Honestly, I can do a wicked Jack Nicholson impression, but there is no way in hell I'm going to be singing like him on MY album. There aren't enough words in the English language to accurately describe the aural torture that these all to frequent shrieks cause.

It's hard for me to even focus on the music, no thanks to some idiot constantly being spooked by a mouse, but the occasions when the music actually shines through aren't very entertaining. This is by-the-numbers thrash, with the standard Ed Repka album cover, standard demons and sacrifice lyrical babble, standard riffs sprinkled with standard solos. This is thrash so standard and pedestrian that I honestly can't even think of an analogy for it. It's boring, it's pointless, it's a waste of time. Mine and everybody else's. I'm hesitant to claim that this is 100% pointless, because while it is musically deja vu and honestly time better spent listening to Destruction, it's still solid. This "retro thrash" movement is a difficult one to fuck up. There are about 20 total riffs written and every band just changes them slightly to fit their songs, and all you have to do is play these generic riffs really fast while tunelessly shouting something regarding either Satan or war. Of course there are exceptions to this, it seems like it's the general formula that most of these resurgent thrash bands stick to. Merciless Death, Warbringer, Bonded by Blood, Hatchet, Fueled by Fire, almost all of them sound very similar. Some bands do this better than others, but the gap between good ones (Diamond Plate) and the bad ones (Merciless Death, Dismantle) is massive.

Satanic Force is a difficult album. It's difficult to sit through, it's difficult to find original ideas, and it's difficult to understand why people allow crap like this to exist. The vocals are easily some of the most offensive I've ever heard in the genre, the music is solid, but only because it's entirely unoriginal and by-the-books. If you're looking for some passion, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a laugh (and are a bit of a sadomasochist), then you may find something here. Otherwise just ignore this shit.