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A Different Set of Killers. - 87%

Metal_Jaw, November 20th, 2011

After 1992's "Murder One", Paul Di'anno and the crew lingered a bit until the time was right for their next album to drop. In 1994, the immense "Menace to Society" was unleashed.

Groove metal was all the rage at the time. Rob Halford was starting work with Fight at the time, and Pantera was bigger than ever. So, Mr Di'Anno probably decided to hop on the industrial train. The result was a heavy metal parade still in the spirit of the traditional metal of "Murder One", but with the heavy groove flavor added on. This album is, for the most part, damn good, and almost a mini-masterpiece in its own right. The lyrics, while not particularly deep, are still strong, thoughtful and above the average metal album; issues such violent youth, falling back to old habits, mistrust, insanity and more are touched upon. Di'Anno sings with full, deadly grit vigor this time around. A bit uneven at times, but mostly threatening and vicious. The sound and production of this album caused a reverse in performance as it seems. Cliff Evans' guitarwork, while still good and surprisingly melodic at times, is pushed into the background of the mix in favor of Gavin Cooper's bass and Steve Hopgood's drumming, which are now more up in front here with ultra-loud and heavy gusto. It's a bit of drastic change at first, but all for the better.

The songs, as I earlier mentioned, are all mostly well-written. Riffing and killer solos are a must here. Faster, heavier pieces like the totally awesome "Die By The Gun", the even more ferocious "Think Brutal", or the stinging, short title track are kickin' showcases for catchy but thunderous riffing, neck-snapping solos and raw drumming. Ballads are done right this time around, like with the downbeat but nice-sounding "Three Words" or the similar "Past Due". But like the last album, there are a few minor snags to be found here. Just two songs, the oddly-titled "?" and "Faith Healer", while not bad particularly, come off as too unmemorable and repetitive, respectively. Also, Paul shows us yet again that he, for some reason, doesn't know how to end an album proper. "Menace" end with "City of Fools", a rap song. I not even fucking kidding. I'm sure this was meant to end the album on a light-hearted note with the "Hey! Ho!" gang vocals and blast-beats, but even with the guitarwork to be found here, I just have to scream NO! The fuck were they thinking, breaking the pace and mood like that? The mixture of rap and metal even kinda makes this song an early nu metal composition. BOO!!! Five Finger Death Punch go home!

Overall, this album is great. The super-heavy, raw bass and drumwork and Di'Anno's vox really shine here. The songs are cool in one way or another, although some are a bit unmemorable, and the goofy finale is a bit of mood-killing head-scratcher. Well worth a check though.