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…And Rome Shall Fall, Under the Thrash - 91%

bayern, October 19th, 2017

This act were one of the pioneers on the Italian metal scene setting it on fire in the early-80’s under the name Hot Blood. Back then they had a female singer, and the music was fairly energetic speedy/proto-thrash quite reminiscent of the one performed by another female-fronted outfit at the time, the Belgian legends Acid. Alas, there was only one demo recorded under that moniker before the guys changed their name to Maskim.

This new chapter from their career wasn’t extremely fruitful either, but at least they managed to catapult themselves to the official release stage with the album reviewed here. Reportedly the delivery on the Hot Blood demo was rough-around-the-edges and more on the bashing side, but in this case we have quite interesting unpredictable technical/progressive thrash with a lot of frenetic, nearly chaotic at times riffing reminiscent of Terrahsphere’s “Third in Order of the Sun”, Midas Touch’s “Presage of Disaster”, and also early Artillery on the more refined moments.

“Backshock” starts with creepy sinister riffs this effective minimalistic stride marred by the sloppy sound quality which still can’t stand on the way of the frantic intricate section which commences just like that, abruptly, topped by interesting semi-clean/semi-shouty vocals which definitely have the range to impress more, but the wild musical delivery also calls for more aggressive, nearly death metal-like, rendings. An awesome inauguration by all means followed by “House of Trial”, a great varied thrasher with an accentuated bass bottom, labyrinthine rhythmic decisions, frenetic shreds, and dramatic tempo changes the vocalist finding the way to sound more emotional and lyrical also unleashing a couple of less controlled shrieks. “Wise Man Never Stall” would be a surprise, a feelgood semi-balladic heavy metal anthem, off-context, the seeming filler.

A possible deviant experiment overwritten by “The Xperiment” which sinister doomy intro gradually turns into a fierce thrashorama the vocalist’s hellish screams “duelling” with the fast ripping guitars, the ”tussle” terminated by a portion of hectic, nearly jazzy strokes. “Bad Taste” doesn’t deserve its title as this is a raging headbanger with a few more moderate stops along the way, brutalizing the environment which would receive its doze of stylish technical Coroner-esque riffs from “Face of Death”, a masterpiece of diverse complex thrash with a dizzying riff alternation. “Fireblind” is a calm orthodox pounder with an abrupt aggressive ending, but “Death Tone” is the next in line technical aggressor with the choppy breaks and the rapidfire “skirmishes”, those gimmicks permeating the remaining string of cuts all the way to the end.

Another pleasant surprise served in the early-90’s the band joining the group of talented visionary thrash outfits (Headcrasher, Jester Beast, Braindamage) from their homeland although the approach here was nothing like the surreal Voivod-ian one of these acts, but was way more linear and also more intense. The choppy crunchy riff-formulas heard here and there could have received their modern, groovy baptism later… instead, the guys swung towards the power/speed metal side, a style quite close to the newly stirred movement in Germany (Iron Saviour, Primal Fear, Brainstorm, etc.) in the early-90’s, but never managed to release anything under these “lofty” intentions. That can wait… until the rise of the new Roman Empire.

Oooooohhhhhhh - 3%

CKeen666, June 3rd, 2009

Oh man this is one of the worst albums I've heard in some time... I've discovered this album on classicthrash.com and they said it was a very promising release. So when I read that, I thought I'd check the album out, since I'm from Italy as well. It was very hard to find but finally I managed to get it on soulseek, and I would have bought it later. I was quite excited when I opened the album folder and started to listen to the first mp3. But after some minutes the excitation was completely gone and I thought "Oh my God what the hell is this......... album?"

This failed abortion of an album starts off with some random noises, then some absurd voices come in: "Oh, oh, oh, OH, OH!!!". What the fuck, I have no idea what that is supposed to be, the only thing I know is that it sounds like a guy getting a cock up his asshole. Then after this part (Which does only help to realize how the album is going to be) the guitar comes in. Unfortunately it manages to sound as bad as the gayguy. Very boring guitar work, and then the drums come in and I hoped they were at least going to save the situation a bit but mother of God, the drums manage to sound even worse than the guitar. They're very weak and sound like the drummer's beating plastic dishes or something else, I cannot find any other comparision to describe how much the drumming sucks. Then, when you think the album can not get any worse (And we're still at the first song!) the vocals come in and.... it does get worse!!! The nasal vocal tone is extremely annoying and irritating. This is not thrash at all... I can barely call it metal.

But then, after five minutes of agony, the song comes to its best part...

Yes, the song DOES end! I was really shocked, I mean I thought I downloaded a thrash classic, and instead I get something that makes Meshuggah sound brilliant, and this is saying a lot.

Well, actually, after the first song the album gets a bit better. Not great for sure but not as bad as the first song. The drums still sound awful but the guitars aren't as shitty as the first song. Unfortunately the song is six minutes long. I mean it is already pretty mediocre, if you make it six minutes long then you want people to find where you live to smash your skull to pieces!

There's really no sense on talking about the rest of the songs, because they're pretty much on the same level. Well yeah the album does definitively not deserve a 3/100, there are some nice/decent riffs here and there, for example on Fireblind which was not that bad after all, but the point is, I was pranked! I got this album dressed up as a classic, and it managed to be complete garbage. I don't tolerate being pranked and this is why I'm giving it such a low score. But hey, even if I wasn't pranked, this album wouldn't deserve more than a 15%.

In conclusion, this album fucking sucks. I am glad I downloaded it instead of buying it. But don't do my same mistake, do not waste your time looking for this. Unless you like hearing gay guys getting cocks upon their assholes, that's it.