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Needs Improvement - 65%

Bedevil, May 1st, 2013

Australian speed, thrash metal band Storm Breeder release their first full length called The Knave through Paragon Records. This is a shift for Paragon since, they cater to more black metal and death metal acts.

Ben Petch is Storm Breeder. He plays all instruments and is the vocalist. The opening track, The Knave comes off with some traditional Iron Maiden like melodies, played against a tight rhythmic section similar to Annihilator. There is some excellent guitar playing that impresses me. Time changes are dominant throughout the album. Ben clearly knows how to play and it shows. The strongest element of the music are the riffs that are created. You can clearly hear the strong Metallica influence on the album. There are moments that Storm Breeder incorporate blast beats, whispering, female vocals and keyboards. Don’t expect to hear any symphonic black metal. Ben uses these ingredients to give the listener a different perspective to the music. The atmosphere that’s created will bring you back to the late 1980’s, early 1990’s thrash, speed metal scene. The song Demoniacal has a strong gothic overtone similar to Crematory’s earlier records.

The problem the album faces are the vocals. I have listened to this album about five times and Ben’s vocals don’t impress me all that much. One thing is that he doesn’t have the range or the power to create a memorable listening experience. I would compare his vocal approach to a fifth rate James Hetfield or Keith Caputo of Life of Agony. It’s unfortunate since the music is performed very well.

The production was another downside of the album. It’s very synthetic sounding. The engineering of the sound needs improvement. Thrash metal should have a warmer, organic feel then what this album turned out to be.

Overall the album could have been better. I enjoyed the music that Ben wrote, but I think a vocalist that has the heart and determination should be brought in for their follow up.