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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.