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Not Hard-Pressed by the “Do or Die” Dilemma Yet - 78%

bayern, June 29th, 2020

Hm, hasn’t fared that well among the fans this album, from what I see here… well, compared to the colossal sophomore, and even to the fairly good demo after it, there aren’t too many reasons to praise it sky-high, but at least it could pass for a pretty decent beginning, and definitely not with a nightmare.

On this first instalment the band were not a first-class tech-thrash metal act yet; they were testing the waters which in their case meant that they were clinging more towards the power metal side of the spectre. Not a very unpardonable sin provided that power metal was still a force on the circuit in the mid-80’s. For the purpose you must possess a capable vocalist, and here comes the time to mention Mr. Paul Gleneicki, a very characteristic presence who waltzes around in a furtive chameleon-like fashion, suddenly breaking his dominant mid-ranged clean delivery with a shattering piercing scream; a rude awakening that may get on the nerves of some, also frequently provided; think Blessed Death’s Larry Portelli but this vocal bravado here is more outrageous having in mind Gleneicki’s more composed, more levelled prevalent timbre.

Anyway, his colleagues don’t seem perturbed by the abrupt vocal switches, and not only but they also begin the showdown quite promisingly with the complex thought-out saga "Hit from the Rear", a solid diverse power/thrasher. Whatever aggression has been generated on this first coming fades away, but gradually and unmitigatedly on a string of less rowdy mid-paced power metal-based numbers before a few shorter livelier injections (“On the Attack”, “Night Prowler”) stir a not very heralded pogo session. Those stylistic switches are perhaps not that adroitly executed as their sudden overlapping create a near-jam session-like atmosphere, but music-wise there’s little to complain especially when "A Night on the Horizon" hits, a graver more technical proposition which also preserves the dynamics from the preceding therapy; the only actual sign here that things might as well take a loftier direction on subsequent recordings.

A fair debut if nothing else, this album also provided a ground for the musicians to hone their weapons before doing some bigger damage on the scene; it does sound like a dress rehearsal at times with the various influences colliding, sometimes awkwardly, but it does show a team willing to be more than just a one-trick pony with a limited easy-to-pigeonhole arsenal. And, you have give it to a stepping stone sound which was almost immediately upgraded on the mentioned demo just a few months later; not to mention the fabulous second instalment which shot them straight into the stratosphere but for a very short while… savage and steel was a very combustible concoction… it was never meant to last long.