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Cul-De-Sac at the Dawn of a New Decade - 82%

bayern, February 20th, 2019

Back to our “turbo lovers” again, first cause I went through their discography (the 1982/1992 period) the other day, and second cause I think they deserve more attention here and elsewhere. If for nothing else, they are the oldest heavy metal outfit on Polish soil alongside Kat, and have produced some admirable peaks in several genres throughout the years.

The 90’s started well with the English release of the excellent “Epidemie”, a technical thrash marvel which screamed for a loyal follow-up. The follow-up came, the album reviewed here, just a few months later but it wasn’t exactly a faithful sequel to it. The approach was simplified to an extent with not that many exuberant intricate fireworks this time, the focus clearly on aggression the latter often served with a pinch of death, the way works like Gammacide’s “Victims of Science”, released earlier, and Invocator’s “Excursion Demise”, released later, used to incorporate it.

Regardless of the alterations this album still sounds quite convincing the adjusted more belligerent, more shouty vocals spearheading the fiesta which is pretty intense on “Everyone” the guys raging hard with semi-technical stopovers frequently intercepting the melee. Once activated, the mosh seldom pauses for a break sometimes acquiring a more pronounced deathly grin (“Blind Alley”), sometimes playing around with a wider gamut of time and tempo changes (“Enola Gay”, the choppy minimalistic “Prophetic Sound”) the lead guitarist particularly busy with the provision of dazzling pyrotechnics, stealing the laurels for the finest performer here including on more direct, hyper-active exhibitions of death/thrashiness like “Evolution”. “The Raven” is a curious piece, a doomy atmospheric progressiver which works its magic in a patient, slow-burning manner its sombre officiancy cancelled by the blitzkrieg impetuousness of the title-track and the frolic speed/thrashing roller-coaster “Mortuary”.

The delivery is strictly classic with no digressions whatsoever; the groove was just a novice on the scene and its presence wasn’t that tangible yet. But even if the latter was more prominent at the time, there was no way this Polish cohort in particular to become its major representative in Eastern Europe; the passion for the old school was still here, and although the guys’ established thrash base was upgraded to a more aggressive death-tinged sound, there was nothing wrong with throwing the casual more brutal stroke from time to time. To put it short, the guys had heard about the thrash/death metal hybridization attempts (Atheist, Vacant Grave, Incubus, Hellwitch, etc.) from the other side of the Atlantic, and had decided to try their hands on it by removing the overt technical flair from past exploits…

a decision which I personally find wrong as without the latter the band lost to an extent this characteristic quirky vibe that made “Epidemie” such a treat. Without this strife for complexity the effort here can’t be placed right beside the mentioned works/acts from the States as the majority of those were pretty technical affairs… the band could have matched them in every department with ease; they just didn’t want to do that. They wanted to shred with more vigour and passion a reflection of which was also the follow-up “One Way” this one completely abandoning whatever complex vestiges there were on the opus here, going for direct unrelenting bash not far from Sepultura’s “Beneath the Remains”.

The veterans still hold the fortress, and although their slightly modernized (read occasionally groovy) take on the good old heavy metal that they have started exercising more recently doesn’t really rock my boat, it’s always good to have them around, with the always lurking possibility for the release of another turbo-charged thrashing “love” affair.