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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