The promo letter from Metal Age Productions wants to sell Criminal Element’s new release, ‘Criminal Crime Time’ as death metal and grindcore. Grindcore it ain’t, that’s for sure. Death metal, yes. And I’m tempted to say “How can it not be?” with Terrance Hobbs and Derek Boyer, both of Suffucation fame, on board?
The inclusion of these two capacities of course warrants for some quality, as does the presence of vocalist Vince Matthews who’s been part of various bands, most notably Dying Fetus. The lineup is completed by guitarist Maliq Emanuel.
Anyhoo, coming back to my argumentation about the genre of metal these gentlemen present to world, I really have a hard time recognising the grindcore element. What DO recognise, though, is a lot of thrash metal. In fact, I’m constantly reminded of Exhorder, one of the primary inspirational sources for Pantera. This has much to do with the staccato vocal style of Matthews, who carries on what Kyle Thomas, Exhorder vocalist and now ditto for doom mongers Trouble. That, by the way, is something that lifts this album.
What doesn’t lift it is the rather thin mix and production. Oddly enough, the first seven songs sound more like demo recordings, whereas the last track, The Bitch Set Me Up, is way more powerful soundwise. Why couldn’t the entire album have the same quality sound? It’s a major setback.
That said, the songs are really cool compositions, and there are massive double bass drum rolls in there (check out Jails, Institutions & Death for one). Also, a song like Falling Down takes you by surprise because it’s got a totally different feel from the rest, quite eerie in fact – I like that.
Great album – too bad the sound isn’t up there with the quality of the songs.
1. Gang Related
2. Criminal Crime Time
5. Jails, Institutions & Death
6. Falling Down
7. Justice Denied
8. “The Bitch Set Me Up”
Playing time: 31 minutes
Release date: 14th of September, 2015
Label: Metal Age Productions