Metal Beer Horror Webzine-METAL REVIEWS
METAL REVIEWS

UPDATED 1/9/06

DEFENDER-They Came Over the High Pass-1999-Necropolis

A Power Metal album from Necropolis Records? Yeah...that's right...the same label who brought WITCHERY,WAR,VONDUR,and was a big player in the world of Black Metal years ago had signed DEFENDER...a band I hadn't heard of before and I band I wouldn't have spent a fucking cent on if I didn't get this CD dirt cheap. It's not as bad as you might think.

Musically,this is good shit. The music isn't fast or thrashy in any way but it kind of falls short of "epic" (which is what I'm sure these guys were looking for) and THATS the reason to buy this album. The vocals,however,are really schizophrenic. On the song "High Himilayan Valley" the vocals are pretty decent until the chorus where all of a sudden this guys voice gets deeper and he sings it with this semi death gurgle which is absolutley horrible (or hilarious depending on how many times you hear it) and while not EVERY song has vocals like that it makes you wonder what this guy was thinking when he was recording it. The other songs which feature vocals are alright...at least the guy TRIES on the other tracks. The fact that "High Himilayan Valley" is almost 9 minutes long doesn't do it any favors.

"The Dragon" is a song in which the music pisses me off because this is the kind of "happy"-sounding power metal which drives me fucking nuts. If I want happy music I'll commit myself to toal brain death and turn on Top 40 radio...I don't want to hear that bullshit in my metal songs! The fact that the song sucks as well doesn't do it any favors. Thankfully this is the only "happy" crappy track here.

This album also has alot of instrumental tracks (3 out of 8) which show mw one thing...I would honestly reccomend this album if there were either no vocals on it or if the vocallist was halfways decent. The song "They Came Over The High Pass" is a long intro (count it if you wish to...I do because it exceeds a minute and a half),"Summit Day" is the second (and best) and is fucking kick-ass while "Maze Of The Minotaur" is alright.

If it weren't for the vocals totally shitting on the better-than-average music displayed here this could be a much more enjoyable album that what it is. Burn it from somwone who owns it or buy it incredibly cheap. The music is the reason to buy it.

ANTHRAX-The Greater of Two Evils-2004-Sanctuary

Oh man am I sick of this kind of shit. Why the fuck do bands have to go back into their catalog of music,"re-imagine" or "re-invent" their classic material for a newer generation and ruin the music in the process? These are the kind oif records that are made for the sole purpose of getting out of bad contracts and nothing else. The band will say it is for the fans and while the musicians might delude themselves into believing that the fans know that it's bullshit and steer clear of said product like it's the second coming of the bubonic plague.

ANTHRAX kinda had a reason for it...they wanted fans to hear these songs with John Bush on vocals in case they hand't seen the band since when Joey Belladonna left in the early 90's. So...how does John Bush do on these?

Surprising he does very good on alot of the tracks here. I dreaded listening to this at first because these songs were witten while Belladonna and Neil Turbin (still my favorite ANTHRAX vocallist) were singing them and to call John Bush a different kind of vocallist than those who proceeded him is like saying that the sky is blue or the grass is green...you'd have to be an idiot not to realize it. You'd also have to be an idiot to say that these versions of the songs are better than the originals...they aren't but on a few of them ANTHRAX come really close to topping their old shit.

He didn't really do it for me on "Deathrider"...one of the most classic songs ANTHRAX has ever written. The music was slowed down as well...seemingly to fit Bush's vocals a bit better but this song really disappointed me and made me wonder "what the hell did I just spend my money on ?" as my cd player went through the next couple of tracks. Same went for "Indians" (which I never really cared for in the first place) and "I Am The Law" which just sounds absolutley wretched. "Madhouse" sucks pretty bad as well...just like "Deathrider" it's incredibly slow and it is sure to make any die-hard old-school ANTHRAX fan want to murder John Bush slowly and precisley.

With those exceptions the rest of the material is passable to excellent. "Panic","N.F.L." and "Metal Thrashing Mad" are fucking awesome,"Among The Living" is rather good and the rest of it,for the most part,is really fucking good...or at least as good as these kind of projects ever get. Oh...and keep listening after the last track ("Gung-Ho") for a pretty cool version of "Lone Justice".

Your overall enjoyment of this album will depend on how much you liked the "John Bush Era" of ANTHRAX's career. Personally I enjoyed it so that might have a bit to do with how I feel about this record and the fact that ANTHRAX basically got rid of Bush without coming out and saying it makes me enjoy this even more than I really should. To be honest with you I don't want to hear ANTHRAX's new record if Joey Belladonna is going to sing on it for the simple fact that they basically fucked over John Bush without having the balls to say "Thanks for making us relevant again and deliviering two of the best records we ever made" and THAT is a true crime.

DESTRUCTION-Inventor Of Evil-2005-Candlelight

I've said it before and I'll probably say it again (although at this point it's really fucking redundant) but this is the best DESTRUCTION album since they re-united.

Some people might beleive it...others might not. That's fine...and if you beleive it you probably have this album cranked,loving every fucking minute of it while tearing the naysayers a new asshole on Blabbermouth. If you don't beleive me,thats fine...I might have steered you wrong in the past (and I seriously doubt it) but I'm telling you...THIS is as close to the glory days of DSETRUCTION as you can get without digging out the old albums. The songs are the best that they have written since the reunion,Scheimer's voice sounds great and most of all this album is heavier than the other post-reunion albums by far!

Some of the songs smack of rehash while others seem a bit lackluster compared to the best stuff on this album (which is bound to happen when you have been in a band which has recorded albums for over twenty years) and "The Alliance of Hellhounds" isn't really anything special to be honest with you. Despite the ideas presented in the lyrics (metal unity) the fact that you have nine vocallists screaming over one another to be heard through about 75% of the song kind of kills it. The music itself isn't anything special and this is actually one of the worst tracks on the album and it was the one I was looking forward to hearing the most.

While the songs are great I wish they would have written in a few more parts that had a more progressive approach...like most of "Release From Agony" although alot of the riffs on this album kill and show that Mike can still put together a great riff and then top the riff with an even better guitar solo. Some of the best tracks here are "The Calm Before The Storm","Dealer Of Hostility" and the absolutley lethal power of "Twist Of Fate"...probably my favorite post-reunion DESTRUCTION track.

Yeah...it's their best post-reunion album...but I said that about "Metal Discharge" and "The Antichrist" as well so take that as you will. Hopefully on the next album they can keep this style and mix in some "Release From Agony"-style material as well.

UNSEEN TERROR-Human Error-2001-Earache

UNSEEN TERROR were a two man band from England who were one of the first bands signed to Earache records when the label was basically starting out. When Earache starting re-issuing alot of their back cataloge this got re-issued as well. It's not bad but there are a few factors which hold this album down.

Musically this is nothing new...crossover-ish music about death,injustice and Garfield (?) with Mitch Dickson's hurried mumble vocal style. Sounds like REPULSION if REPULSION sang about political strife instead of death and rotting corpses and other lovley shit like that.

The production is garbage. It sounds like it was recorded on a busted TASCAM 4-track from the 60's. No bass...the drums sound like a machine (despite being played by Shane Embury of NAPALM DEATH) and the guitar sound is fuzzed out. It says that there is bass on the album (courtesy of Mitch Dickson who also plays guitar and sings) but I'm not hearing it at all. Even better...this is the "remastered" version...I wonder how shitty this sounded BEFORE the remastering took place. I wonder if there was a bass sound on the original release. There are also bonus tracks which also have horrible sound on them but considering these are outtakes and demos it's at least more understandable.

OK...so I've been harsh kind of harsh on UNSEEN TERROR so far but the truth is that despite its flaws it's a pretty good album. It doesn't do much to seperate itself from the tons of other albums which came out around the same time which had a similar musical plan (crossover music with politically charged lyrics) but as much as I bitch about the production and all it's the music that counts and that's where UNSEEN TERROR earn their credit from me. The music and lyrics are really good and if you enjoy music with a message then this is worth istening to. This is one of those albums you have to listen to a few times for it to grow on you. After a few listens you might enjoy it...just let it sink in...and skip the "Garfield tracks"...they add nothing.

EXCITER-Better Live Than Dead-2002-NMC Music

EXCITER-LIVE IN CANADA 1991

That's what the sticker on the front of the CD case says at least. From the sound of it I believe it as well. The vocals are drowned out but just about everything but that doesn't matter because IT'S FUCKING EXCITER!!! LIVE!!! NOT THE FAKE ASS EXCITER LINE-UP I SAW AT THE MARCH METAL MELTDOWN YEARS AGO!!! It's still a "fake" EXCITER for the simple fact that Allan Johnson isn't on bass (Jeff McDonald is playing on this album). The sound is probably the only part of this package which truly sucks.

The track list for this show is incredible...only songs from the first three albums with a heavy emphasis on the first record (six songs out of 13) but "Heavy Metal Maniac" is an awesome record so it's all good. Not a weak fucking song on the CD.

This is worth picking up if you're an old-school EXCITER fan like myself...you can probably get it cheap,the track list is awesome and it's worth it just to hear Dan Beehler's paint peeling howls and shrieks. If you hate EXCITER then you hate MBH and if you hate MBH then why the fuck are you on this site?

Copyright 2006-Metal Beer Horror Webzine/Chris O'Brien.