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Lower Your Expectations - 60%

DawnoftheShred, June 24th, 2009

Man, the Napalm Death logo is really looking different these days…

With one cult classic and a monstrous hiatus under their belt, Terrorizer had themselves a pretty impeccable standing with in the metal community. This was true, of course, until they decided to ‘reform’ and try to battle their own legacy, perhaps to prove they could still run with the young bucks. ‘Reform’ in quotations because only half of the original lineup made a reappearance: arrogant once-legend Pete “Commando” Sandoval for drums and long-time Napalm Death guitarist Jesse Pintado. The lineup was filled out with off-brand growler Anthony Rezhawk and Tony “Do I Even Need To Be Here?” Norman on bass guitar to record Darker Days Ahead, the highly anticipated sequel to their esteemed World Downfall record and inevitable heir to a world of criticism from the band’s legion of fans.

More death metal than grindcore (which is how I always felt about World Downfall anyway), Darker Days Ahead is ten tracks of sludgy modern brutality bookended by a pointless intro and an absurd outro (piano-core?). The guitars are tuned quite low and caked with distortion (hiding the old-school feel of some of the more worthy riffs), Sandoval’s drumming is fast but predictable, and the vocals consist of one-dimensional supermarket variety death metal growls. So basically, it’s the album that Napalm Death and Cannibal Corpse put out every few years. To lukewarm acceptance, of course. So why the stream of negativity? “BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING TERRORIZER MAN!” Indeed, this is an album by Terrorizer. They released one brilliant album 17 YEARS ago, yet are expected to outdo it with only half of their original lineup. That sounds like a fair expectation to me. Now excuse me while I find some comeback albums from other long-defunct musicians, that I might chastise them for blessing me with new music that’s inevitably weaker than that of their heyday. Seriously people, what were you expecting? The fact that it’s decent at all is a triumph.

Of course, it’s still generic modern death metal, and almost comically so when you consider that they were once a fairly unique outfit. “Crematorium,” “Legacy of Brutality,” these are nothing new, just more time-fillers with which the average headbanger might bang his head. Only “Fallout” and “Dead Shall Rise” border on offensive, and only because these are rerecorded versions of old songs. The rest is…well, the rest.

Don’t get your hopes up so high and you shouldn’t be too terribly disappointed with Darker Days Ahead. Yeah, it’s basically pointless, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a complete travesty. Just….pointless.

A Tragic Return - 61%

Crank_It_Up_To_666, February 7th, 2008

There are few names in underground death/grind that can deservedly be spoken with such reverence as the legendary Terrorizer. Indisputably, ‘World Downfall’ remains one of the greatest examples of gut-wrenchingly heavy, crust-coated, enraged extremity. And with an album like that in their repertoire, it’s hardly surprising that, 17 years on from this netherworld classic, Terrorizer’s reformation would have metalheads all over salivating at the thought of new material from these gods of grind.

A tragic shame then, that what they eventually received was way short of the benchmark that Terrorizer had set for themselves in 1989.

What the listener finds contained herein is by no means describable as a bad album; far from it, as what we have is a competent 11 slices of deathly blasting that will satisfy appetites quickly and efficiently.
But right there we see the key problem with ‘Darker Days Ahead’ – Dying Fetus make competent death metal albums. Severe Torture make competent death metal albums. Hypocrisy make competent death metal albums. Terrorizer do not – they made a true classic, and when placing ‘World Downfall’ alongside ‘Darker Days Ahead’, it must unfortunately be sad that the 17 year wait yielded only a serious disappointment.

Admittedly, it is unfair to use an artist’s prior work as the yardstick against which all future endeavours are measured. And inarguably, Terrorizer’s latest is not an album devoid of merit: opener ‘Crematorium’ is a barrage of ferocious, double bass and blasting courtesy of Commando Pete Sandoval, who undoubtedly puts on a sterling performance throughout, backed by fellow original member Jesse Pintado fantastically crusty, raging guitar.
This is pretty much par for the course throughout – the band have not slowed through the years and the likes of ‘Fallout’ and ‘Blind Army’ are fantastic, thrashing noise whirlwinds that will set your head ‘a bangin.’ Hell, even the much-derided re-recording of ‘Dead Shall Rise’ puts up a fair old fight against its legendary, black-hearted father. Terrorizer even extend beyond grind on the highly imaginative outro ‘Ghost Train’, a genuinely menacing musical depiction of its title, complete with bizarrely fitting lead piano work.

Something, however, remains missing.

Perhaps this feeling of dissatisfaction is due in part to the fact that this isn’t the Terrorizer many of us cherish. Only Sandoval and Pintado remain of the ‘World Downfall’ line-up, with Dave Vincent replaced on bass by Tony Norman, who gives a (once again) competent performance but very little to shout about – especially since his bass is just a bit too low in the mix. A second possible reason is that, quite simply, this is not the most imaginative kind of grind – the riffs can be as crusty as you like but that will never properly disguise when they start sounding like each other again and again, a flaw this album displays just a few times too often. Another reason of course is the selection of Anthony Rezhawk as lead vocalist in place of Oscar Garcia.

Throughout the record’s run, it is almost impossible to shake off the nagging notion that Rezhawk should have stopped short after providing the (admittedly superb) album art; his is a voice distressingly akin to Garcia’s, minus all the raw grit and aggression. Quite literally, he seems to be speaking his lyrics on occasion and this, coupled with the bone dry drum sound, severely dampens any aggressive atmosphere the record might establish.

That, in short, is it. Perhaps the premier death grind band in the entire world, producing an album that saw Jesse Pintado end his musical career on not even so much as a low note – simply a mediocre one. It is truly tragic that this god of grind’s final legacy is one that will be a forgotten blast beat on the breeze long before ‘World Downfall’ ever even begins to fade from the memory of underground metalheads.

R.I.P. Jesse Pintado, ye shall be much missed.

Darker Days Have Come!! - 90%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, September 20th, 2007

I have to be honest, at first I did not like this album very much…I found it quite boring but after have listened to it several times I can definitely say that now I like it! It has grown in me like few albums did. Maybe because I was used to joy for the incredible violence of their first and only masterpiece “World Downfall”; but going on listened to this one I found it very good but a bit different from their early mile stone.

In this new album, the songs are a bitter longer and complex than in “World Downfall” and at first I thought they had lost the power and the rage, necessary in this genre. Fortunately I was wrong; it was only the production that, trying to be old fashioned, seems like not strong enough. Well, surely this production is not great for this genre as it was on their first effort but anyway it’s good.

Talking about the songs there is a small intro to this album, made of strange noises and in the background a growly voice as the prelude to the title track that is very good. The production is quite similar to the mid Morbid Angel era (Covenant or Domination) but with a more raw guitar sound, always inspired by the hardcore genre and death metal. Pete Sandoval has become (as you know) a great drummer and his way of playing is perfect but sometimes a bit “cold” in my opinion. Maybe is the drum production…but, don’t worry anyway. The violence is always present! “The storm is coming, the clouds are falling…” Very good song.

The new singer is very good because sounds not too growly but also quite raw and you can understand the words very well. The attack of the “Crematorium” track is incredible as its main riff: pure violence and hate. The up tempos typical of the death/thrash are perfectly mixed to the blast beats. “Fallout” track is awesome with his slow beginning and the tempos changes from mid paced to blast beats. The refrain is very catchy and the lyrics about a future of war and genocide are a perfect mix.

“Doomed” is another assault and the drum is restless…the great things in this song come from the refrain “Famine, pestilence, death!!!” and from the obscure, extreme slow part followed by some bell sound. With this song we will be doomed forever…great. “Mayhem” and Bind Army” are total impact with awesome guitar riffs so inspired by the old scene (hardcore, grind, thrash). The refrain is always easy to find and very catchy to scream ‘till death. Pure headbanging. In “Legacy Of Brutality” song all the drummer’s class comes out with the fast bass drum tempos and blast beats. The refrain in “Nightmare” is great: “Is it real or just a dream?? Is it real or a nightmare??”

At the end of this album we can find a quite boring outro but also the great song “Dead Shall Rise” from “World Downfall”!! Here seems even faster!

Well, after all, this is great album and here we can find the last songs played by the great Jesse Pintado (RIP), unfortunately…anyway I have to say that this album is a bit different from the other one before but give it a chance, listen to it several times as I did and you’re gonna like it.


Bitter disappointment - 0%

PerpetualDusk, November 8th, 2006

You know them. Legends who release awesome albums in the 80's, split-up or change their style and than try a comeback. Sadus, Slayer, Metallica, they all wen't from awesome to crap and they just couldn't bring a good comeback.

But this is Terrorizer, a legend, the godfathers of Grindcore along with Repulsion. Terrorizer is one of my all-time favourite bands, so I had really high hopes and I got this album as soon as possible. And than I faced reality, it doesn't matter how good you once were, after 17 years of inactivity it's not possible to find back to your roots, even if you're mighty Terrorizer.

What we have here is a boring as hell death metal album with probably the worst vocals you could put into it. The druming is superb, of course, it's Sandoval. Intense and very fast bass-drumming. But everything else, from the guitarriffs to the bassline is utter-crap. This hurts to say actually, because you know...R.I.P. Pintado!

So, why so harsh words? Well, this album has exactly 10 riffs, which are played over and over again in different orde to make it less conspicuous. And this new vocalist sounds like he has something stuck in his throat and can't bring the fucking words out of his mouth! And that's really annoying, all I thought while listening to this guy was: "COME ON MAN, SPEAK THE FUCK UP!"

My last words: If you search for some grindcore, check their deubt album, it's not only one of the best, if not the best, grindcore albums of all time, it shows you what Terrorizer really is about. But if you already listend to this album and don't know their debut, please don't judge to fast! Because "World Downfall" does not sound like this at all!