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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.