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Mediocrity, thy name is this album - 40%

ElectricEye, March 5th, 2007

This is a record that does zero for me. Nothing. It's got speed, good production, is well-played, and all that German stuff. But in the end, it's a totally unfulfilling waste of time.

The album is just very uninspired. The band is too content to be middle-of-the-pack, although they try really hard not to suck at times, and end up sounding either flat or forced. Songwriting is nonexistent.

It's not uncommon for the music to build up for a big payoff, with endless streams of unthrilling riffs, then just wander off somewhere else as you wait for the punchline, failing to deliver anything but a broken expectation. That is the main complaint here, that apart from the fact that none of the riffs, choruses, or whatever, are interesting enough in themselves, they are also very poorly put together, as the music never leads to a point.

What we end up with is a random hodgepodge of bad ideas, and I feel that I might as well play it backwards, without missing a beat. Maybe then I could also sue the band for the refund (though playing it "as is" is enough of an obvious incentive to DROP DEAD).

What happened to the confidence? There is not an underline ANYWHERE on the album, saying "Gotcha! Stick THIS up yer turner!". No remotely classic tracks like "Across the universe" or "From the dust of ages" to be found. I can't stay interested to as much as a single song here, no less so the 7-minute "epics", that just go on and on and on. The whole album at ONCE can only be digested while vacuum cleaning.

There's a new singer again, and this is by far the worst one they've ever had. His voice is a bit lower and raspier than the previous two, and as such, cannot really be classified as "power". Unfortunately, his delivery is also rather weak, and without any real personal touch. In the higher registers, he is downright unpleasant. He struggles hard to stay afloat among the nowhere riffs, and might as well be David Reece for all that I care. Loser.

Another point of annoyance is that this album implements the useless wind intros far too many times. Will metal bands ever stop using this crappy device? I mean, just get to the riffs already? Maybe they realized that the rest of the album was so damned boring, they figured that they could just add 20 seconds of unmusic at the beginning of half the songs (6 out of 11, no joke), an no-one would even notice. In the end, it's all filler.

Five years since the last release, and this was all they could muster? Back in these days, Rage punched out new albums almost every year, and they could summon more hooks in any one choice pick on "Black in mind", than this entire record. And it goes on forever too!

Hint to band: If you're gonna suck, at least don't make your album SIXTY THREE minutes long!

"Overpopulation is evil" - Pol Pot

Don't buy "Mental reservation".