Balls, balls, balls! This album definitely is heavy and groovin’!
This American band was formed back in ’96, and has “issued” two (?) self-made albums before this, their first major label album, so this could be considered their album debut for a bigger audience.
The music sounds like it was originally composed back in the 80’s (one of the tracks even in the 70’s, with a male ”aaaah-choir”), and then freshened up with a few newer bits. As possible sources of musical inspiration “oldies” like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Metallica and Queensr˙che comes to mind, along with some newer like Nevermore and other more melodic and/or power oriented (heavy) metal bands. The diversity between the tracks is quite big, but none of them falls out of style with the others.
The general sound of the band is to me typical of the harder heavy metal bands of the early 80’s: compressed, “thick” pumping sound with clean vocals and “natural sounding” drums. Maybe there’s a point in the way this album is produced, but it doesn’t sound like it was made in this century, and that can be considered both good and bad – the feeling of “back then” is evident, but to be honest, I think it’s too bad, that the sound production didn’t seem to benefit from the technical innovations and improvements, that was made in the recording area for the last 25 years…
Apart from the “retro-sound”, especially the very solid and strong vocal work caught my attention, ranging in style and sound from Geoff Tate over Rob Halford/Ripper Owens to Bobby Blitz (and maybe more). All though the songs are very riff based and with pounding drums and bass, they still all have a melodic touch, and will probably work very well live. The band have toured extensively, and judging from the intensity and style of this album, they must be a good live band. Apart from this, some of the tracks from this album will apparently be featured in the horror movie Stash.
Only comment for the cover artwork: very retro – looks cheap. The content is better than the packing.
Are you into the traditional stuff from the “golden years” of “real” heavy metal, this album is a competent revival – or if you missed out on it back then, then this one could be worth a try to get a feel of the heavier sound and style of “ancient times” of metal.
Recommended tracks: “Still I Bleed”, “Changes” and “Never Means Forever”
P.S.: Who the f**k buys streamers and buttons and so on with band names and pictures of band members these days? A very retro stunt on the homepage…