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Time.To.Stop.Fooling.Around - 55%

bayern, April 30th, 2018

Yeah, enough is enough as seeing how the once formidable Trio Tony were staggering from one stylistic implausibility to another during the mid-90’s was heart-rending, to put it mildly. Like the bland, utterly insipid at times groovy staggerings on “The Cult of One” weren’t enough, but now the band have decided to serve this goofy classic/modern power/speed metal feelgoodness to their hungry, (whip)lashingly loyal fans…

To tell the truth, the album reviewed here is a better proposition than its predecessor but pales in almost every department in comparison with the band’s first three instalments which shouldn’t be such a huge surprise, after all, having in mind that from the Tony’s it was only Portaro that was still hanging around, trying to keep the Whiplash idea alive one way or another. In fact, there’s very little thrash present here if any at all the guys again settling for a mild brand of retro power/speed metal mixed with the modern groovy tepidness of the previous outing, the final result only marginally less confusing, and a tad more boisterous.

One has to give it to Portaro and his new comrades for throwing in the lively power/speedy roller-coaster “Climb Out of Hell” at the very beginning, creating the illusion that this opus might as well be a total return to the 80’s albeit without any aggressive thrash fixations. Well, the illusion doesn’t last for very long as the backbone of the album are edgy mid-pacers like “Left Unsaid” and “Cyanide Grenade” including the ambitious diverse title-track which even captures some of the magical drama of “Essence of Evil” from the indomitable “Insult to Injury”. Alas, these not bad pieces still have to fight their way through a lot of ballast like groovy leftovers (“Hitlist”) from the previous instalment, a couple of frankly rock’n rollish cheesers (“Jane Doe”) and mild balladic/semi-balladic bluesy fireplace sitters like “Strangeface” and “Knock Me Down” which sole redeeming quality is that they fit the compassionate, laid-back mid-ranged clean vocals.

The mentioned opening number sadly doesn’t find its match anywhere, hanging more or less awkwardly up front like a miscalculated decision that unfairly raises the fans’ hopes high. Actually, to recognize the old Whiplash behind these mild radio-friendly rhythms one would need a really serious stretch of the imagination. The creative cul-de-sac the band entered heads-over-heels two years earlier hasn’t been enlarged, but it hasn’t been gotten out of very boldly either, the guys treading around in a “status: still thinking” mode. Well, if nothing else, it kind of pointed in the right direction as its immediate, very promisingly-titled, successor was a step up although it wasn’t exactly the thrashy “beast” the public expected especially after the other two Tony’s were brought back to the fore.

The sad untimely passing of Tony Bono in 2002 grounded things to an indefinite halt in the band’s camp, right when the old school started coming back in vogue, a campaign in which the guys didn’t take part under the circumstances. It took over ten years for things to get back on track although “Unborn Again” was hardly a return to form the band, with only Portaro remained from the original line-up again, combining all influences that were heard throughout their bumpy career trajectory, the resultant mish-mash only a bit more convincing than the one cooked here. The man is keeping Whiplash alive, taking it easy at present, trying to find the right whip with which to start lashing without mercy once again. No more fooling around... seriously.

Nice shave, but you missed a spot or two - 55%

autothrall, December 8th, 2010

New Jersey's Whiplash returning in the mid to late 90s to finish what they started was at first a welcome notion, until I laid my ears on their near complete abortion Cult of One, on which Tony Portaro and his band decided to forage into the new terrains of groove metal and truly dull their blades. There was no "Walk the Plank" to be had anywhere. No "Hiroshima". No "Spit On Your Grave". No, it was essentially run of the mill modern 90s thrash with influence from hot bands of the day like Pantera and Black Label Society. A year later, the band's second offering through Massacre, Sit Stand Kneel Pray, would see even further changes from the Whiplash of the past, but ultimately, the music here is at least more effective, if nothing to write home about.

What you have hear is the departure of vocalist Rob Gonzo and drummer Tony Scaglione, and another somewhat new direction, a mix of straight up heavy, speed and thrash metal which is thankfully brimming with good riffs, even though it retains a few of the groove and shuffle elements of its direct predecessor. Guitarist Warren Conditi stepped in here for vocal duties, and while his style is not entirely different than Gonzo, he's much better at it, with a decent melodic tone that would honestly fit right in to some progressive or power metal band. There are some moments like "Left Unsaid" where the vocals very much remind me of a mix of Alice in Chains' late Layne Stayley (due to the melodic layering) and Zakk Wylde, but it's never so bad that you want to throw the album at the nearest concrete surface and watch its plastic and steel bits skitter off into the urban waste. No, Sit Stand Kneel Pray is not a good album, but it's got some tasteful enough tracks that it doesn't belong in the cult of none like its boring step-sister.

Though it never really feels like we're listening to the Whiplash of days gone by, "Climb Out of Hell" has a nice, speedy lick to it that reminds me of something like Wolfsbane or the Rhoads era of Ozzy Osbourne. The tones and texture to the licks creates a positive momentum, and Conditi has a far better range than the man he's replacing, even if he's no replacement for Tony Portaro or Glenn Hansen, who remain the band's best singers. "Left Unsaid" is only suitable to those seeking out a mix of Ozzy and Alice in Chains, and the groovy plummet of "Hitlist" grows less interesting with every subsequent riff past the intro, but then you've got "Cyanide Grenade" which is groovy thrash that wouldn't be out of place on Pantera's Cowboys from Hell, or "Lack of Contrition" which has most of the best riffs and vocals on the album in one place. Other fare, like the dreadful "Knock Me Down" or blues grooves of "Word to the Wise", is best not discussed, because it's just as bad if not worse than anything on Cult of One.

Perhaps the muscles here were not so rusty as on the album before it, and that's why, despite its flaws, Sit Stand Kneel Pray doesn't leek quite the same terrible taste on the buds. However, it still leaves so much to be desired, and when you run it up against Insult to Injury or Ticket to Mayhem you can quickly conceive exactly why the band never needed to journey this path. The production here was the best yet of the band's career, and the guitars deliver about 50% of the time, but it only made me pine for the thrashing excess and manic testosterone of their 80s output. Apparently, I'm not the only one, because the album to follow this was almost a complete reversion to the speed/thrash metal that put the band on the underground map to begin with. If it weren't for the mediocre Unborn Again that the band have recently released, I'd tell you that Sit Stand Kneel Pray had gotten all of this rock and roll out of the band's system, but that's a well they seem to still drink from time to time.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Speed metal that deserves airplay - 78%

avidmetal, February 8th, 2010

This is about the only whiplash album which is really worth getting. I do like this band but all their previous efforts are very derivative and are not an essential part of your collection. They finally get the vocals right on this one. In comes this new vocalist, This might make some people jump out of their seats but this new vocalist sounds a bit like that guy from avenged sevenfold. He has a very clean approach unlike the harsh tone older vocalists had which works wonder here.

The biggest highlight of this album is the track 'Left unsaid'. Boy, Have they grown so much from simple moshpit pleasers in the past. 'Left unsaid' is an absolute classic. The vocals, the lyrical flow make this one of the catchiest songs I've ever heard. Why they didn't make a music video for this song is a mystery. This could've potentially been a mainstream hit. Whiplash's soloing as always are heavily inspired by bands such as Metallica and Megadeth and have a great feel and sense of melody.

This isn't the thrashiest album you'll ever hear, Infact most of the songs feel like solid speed metal. I'm not sure how old school whiplash fans would react to this. There are some filler songs here and there but the opener "Climb out of hell" is a very good one. They have adopted a good style in lyrics writing, Trying to be more catchier than usual. "Hitlist" is another track, He sounds very much like that M.Shadows guy from A7X. Even when he hits higher notes. His clean vocal approach is a strong point. The guitarplay is mid paced and crunchy and not very original. The production is another strong point, When many of the more famous bands struggle get their album sounding right, It's a mystery how lesser known bands can nail it.

At nearly 50 minutes in length, This album almost feels too long. They should've used more variety in their approach. The occasional straight out old school thrash riff would've made it better. "Cyanide grenade" drags on too long and is totally unremarkable. The album has a really soft mid-section. Many unoriginal and uninteresting speed metal/heavy metal songs which bob down the album. "Knock me down" and "Word to the wise" are almost southern metal songs which reminds me a lot of corrosion of conformity and down. They're pretty decent to be honest, The vocalist is pretty solid and he can carry songs on his own. The last few tracks on this album are very slow and sound almost like mainstream hard rock but they're not really that bad.

"Sit stand kneel pray" is actually a ballad and I was surprised. I was expecting the title track to be a throwback thrash metal song but not to be. The vocalist, He can sing. The chorus is not unlike what you hear from many modern metal bands. This album is overall a Speed metal/hard rock album with a very modern sounding vocalist. This album is pretty decent, It just needed a bit of variety and lacks originality. Overall, This album isn't straight forward thrash metal, It's a mix of Speed metal and hard rock. If you're a hardcore whiplash fan, I recommend you actually skip this one. This isn't for headbanging or breaking stuff up.

The guitarwork is pretty decent with some crunching riffs and nice mid-paced melodic solos. The bass is audible, Which is a plus. Drumming is extremely average and will not please people looking for gene hoglan or dave lombardo style drumming. The drumming is more in tune with the music rather than focusing on speed. The vocalist is a hit and miss at times. Download the songs "Left unsaid" and "Climb out of hell" and skip the rest but that's only my opinion.

This isn't going to be "Left Unsaid" - 100%

LinkTGF, October 11th, 2006

To be blunt - I never get tired of this album. I will put this out there before I go any further into this review that I became friends with Warren Conditi during the middle of last year, before I knew he was in the band Whiplash at one point. He recorded a few songs for a Megadeth Forums tribute and I was impressed with his playing and recording and we began talking and have been friends online since. So, you can say I'm biased towards this album but in all honesty if someone slapped the My Chemical Romance logo on this I would feel the same way about it.

I've been a fan of Metallica, GNR and bands of their ilk for years and basically stayed behind that shield of music I knew I liked... In fact, I hated bands like Megadeth and the Beatles for years, simply because I'd never heard their music... And that was the case here - at first the name gives the impression that "we're a Metallica tribute band! whooHOO!" but after hearing "Sit, Stand, Kneel, Prey" I'm forever a fan of this great band (but most particularly Conditi’s vocal style).

I find SSKP to be somewhat of a concept album - if you are unconvinced of this I submit the following for your approval:
• The entire album has somewhat of a rebellion against religion concept, from the beginning radio broadcasts to the album cover - this album most definitely deals with religion in some context, although not on all songs.
• After speaking to Warren at length on some of the aspects of the album, one of the most interesting things I found is that the radio broadcasts that appear in front of some of the songs weren't planned to be that way originally, but, like Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast" album was the product of some (higher or lower?) divine intervention - During the recording sessions they began to pick up radio transmissions and left the tape running to pick it up - oddly enough, the things it picked up dealt with some of the subject matter of the album
• The title, although possibly tongue-in-cheek, is most definitely a condemnation of how religion governs some people's lives and allows them to become prey for the church itself

I'm not a proponent of anti-religion, nor am I a religious zealot, but I am a fan of whenever someone can talk about religion in music without it distracting from said music - The fact the music speaks about religion yet it's not ruled by that fact is one of the main reasons I gave this a perfect score. It's also why I hate Slayer (note to Slayer: you can only say Jesus was a cunt-rag so many times before it becomes repetitive...)

Musicially, this album isn't pigeon-holed like many of the early Whiplash albums - the addition of Conditi allowed the band to broaden their sound and do such songs as "Catharsis" and "Strangeface" (which any metal fan will tell you is "UNTR00!!!") but as a fan of all music I find that this fits well here and allows an interlude between heavy and heavier, sort of like cleansing the palate between courses in a meal.

As for the solos, it's refreshing to hear solos that aren't just a bunch of wankery - A professional will tell you that 2 notes in the right spot is more important than 27 notes in that same spot, if used properly.

In total, I feel Whiplash reached their peak with this album and the fact that it is still here to be listened to is a living testament to their greatness.

- Adrian Ramirez
www.LinkTGF.com

Undeniable - 95%

overkill67, April 12th, 2004

This is the one that purely sets all of their other albums apart. Sometimes within a bands career, they manage to reach their ultimate potential...Megadeth-rust in peace, Slayer-reign in blood, Metallica-master of puppets...that being said, this album is a true masterpiece. The guitaring is unrelenting and Warren Conditi's vocals are amazing. His vocal prowess shines throughout the entire album, allowing the listener to not only hear the music, but to feel it as well. Saddly enough, this was the only album to feature Conditi on vocal duties and unfortunately, Tony took the band a couple of steps backwards with the next album. The songs are all memorable and chalk full of riffs and solos that are dazzling with sheer intensity and undeniable musicianship. Anyone who is intrigued by creativity on the fretboard and cathy choruses/melodic verses and harmonies abound, should try to find this album. One of my top 10 all time favorite thrash metal albums.