JUSTIN’S METAL REVIEWS W/C 8/2/10
FEAR FACTORY / MECHANIZE
It’s been a long nine years since Dino last contributed to a Fear Factory album, I didn’t realize it was so long and the fact that FF have only had 2 album out in that time is more that significant, so I think its more than coincidence that this is Fear Factory’s best album in a decade.
This album marks a return to a much harder edged sound musically more organic than machine and a mixture of “Demanufacture” and “Soul Of A New Machine”, the title track opens the album and this demonstrates the musical shift perfectly, hard edged brutally mixed with some effective melodies and “Industrial Discipline” is similar in style. There are no fillers or bad track on this CD, “Powershifter” which was the first track to be released is the guys on top form and when they are that good they cannot be touched. If you looking for something more Industrial and digital then “Oxidize” and “Designing The Enemy” are as good as any tracks they have released. The standout track is the 8 minute epic that is “Final Exit” full of powerful, emotive melodies that float ethereally above a great Metallic beast of a riff but somehow still manages to sound delicate, fragile and breaks down at the end into a very haunting, atmospheric ambient passage that Brian Eno would be proud of. The digipack version finishes off with “Crash Test” (2010) a track that is totally opposite, a hard, brutish, unyielding, mechanical beast of a track that just leaves you feeling dazed but wanting more.
When you buy this you get a link to a special site to download extra tracks, if you liked Fear Factory up to now you will absolutely love this new album, you may have to play it a couple of times but trust me, it’s a damned fine album that deserves to be in your collection.
TOTAL PLAYING TIME (DIGI) = 48 mins + 11 EXCELLENT TRACKS
OVERKILL / IRONBOUND
Its 25 years in April this year (2010) that Overkill released their debut album just after Thrash Metal came into existence and Megadeth released their first album the same year, over the years Overkill have been criminally overlooked while Megadeth credited as being one of the big 4.
There is no way that a band could exist for 25 years without have some damned fine songs, even with the most loyal of fans so why don’t Overkill get the credit they deserve, this album is just as good as the last Megadeth album, if not better, you only have to listen to the excellent classic riffs that make up “The Black And The Green” or the brutality of “Bring Me The Night” to be totally convinced. If that doesn’t convince you then try the sheer ferocity of “In Vain” or the pummelling beast that is “The Head And The Heart”, if you can’t hear this then how can you call yourself a Metal fan.
Overkill have consistently released really good albums over the last couple of decades to very little acclaim and I for one think that these guys should be given a lot more credit than they are getting, so if you love Thrash Groove Metal and you call yourself a true Metal fan then PLEASE buy this fantastic album and you will find yourself wanting to check out all of their4 back catalogue.
TOTAL PLAYING TIME = 58 mins + 10 THRASHING TRACKS
ASPERA / RIPPLES
Aspire are a Norwegian Progressive Metal band and this is their debut CD for Inside Out Music and if you like Dream Theater and Symphony X, then you like me will absolutely adore this fantastic album.
This album has all the Progressive traits you could wish for, powerful, punctuated guitar riffs, coupled with great keyboard flurry’s, lengthy, complex time changes and soaring, emotive harmonized melodies and all the songs are totally brilliant, there is not a filler track on this superb album. Right from the start of the first majestic title track “Ripples” you know you’re in for a real audio treat, the bombastic “Between Black & White” may be just short of 9 minutes in length but it just flies by. Its not all heavy stuff on here there are dynamics a plenty as “The Purpose” demonstrates very well, there is also a very moving short acoustically driven slow ballad called “Reflections “ that is as poignant as it is short and beautiful.
This is without doubt the best Progressive Metal I have heard from a new band in ages and I for one cant wait to see where they go after this album, their future looks very bright, go on treat yourself and I know my fellow Pipeline presenter Zack More of Rocking America and Tom Mackenzie will both love this album, listen out for tracks on my Podcast’s and Hfm shows.
TOTAL PLAYING TIME = 51 mins + 10 GLORIOUS TRACKS