Disaster Peace - s/t 3/5

Reviewed: 6-12-09


1. Disaster Peace
2. Scarecrow
3. S & M
4. Purgatorio
5. Judas witch
6. Hallowed death
7. Don't come back
8. Immigrant song
9. Blood to blood
10. The gaoler
11. My guns
12. Inferno
13. Kill 'em/Love 'em

From the great state of Florida emerges a new metal supergroup of sorts, in the form of Disaster Peace. The chief songwriter and guitarist is none other than Pete Blakk, whom some of you will remember from his work alongside Andy LaRocque on King Diamond's seminal 'Them', 'Conspiracy' and 'The Eye' CDs in the late-80s. On the bass guitar is Hal Patino, also a King Diamond alumnus, as well as a member of Force of Evil, the Hank Shermann/Michael Denner occult metal project of a few years ago. Behind the microphone is polarizing journeyman Wade Black, formerly of Leatherwolf, Crimson Glory, Seven Witches and others. Only drummer Jasin Marxx is not a "name" player, but he displays ample chops for this gig. On top of the star-studded band line-up, Andy LaRocque gets a co-production credit and a guest performance, so the fingerprints of King Diamond associates past and present are all over this CD.

Not surprisingly, given the pedigree and lineage of the band, Disaster Peace's debut CD sounds eerily reminiscent of prime era King Diamond in many places, especially in the tasteful melodic shredding employed by Blakk. Many of those guitar melodies, licks and themes come straight from the King Diamond playbook, which is a good thing to these ears. Basically, if you enjoy that Larocque/Wead/Blakk style of guitar playing, you will find much to your liking here. That said, it would be inaccurate to pigeonhole Disaster Peace as a mere King Diamond clone act. To the contrary, between the crushingly heavy and modern production job, the thick and meaty guitar tone, the unyielding intensity, and the chugging riffs, I was frequently reminded of Judas Priest circa the Ripper Owens years. The Priest comparison becomes even more appropriate when taking into account the often-screaming vocals of Wade Black, who delivers the kind of love-it-or-hate-it full-on paint-peeling, wailing performance that has become his stock in trade over the years. So if you ever wondered what would happen if you crossed the 'Jugulator' CD with King Diamond-style melodic licks and leads, then Disaster Peace is your answer. Personally, I think the combination works pretty well, with the flashy guitar melodies keeping the pummeling heaviness from becoming too one-dimensional and boring, even though Black is best in small doses.

Although the track listing shows 12 songs, that's deceptive. After subtracting a cursory intro ("Disaster Peace"), a brief instrumental ("Purgatorio"), a strange and twisted short ballad ("Don't come back"), a gratuitous cover tune (a heavied-up rendition of Zeppelin's "Immigrant song"), and a pair of plodding, unnecessary and flat-out irritating instrumentals ("Inferno" adn "Kill 'em/Love 'em") tacked on at the end, you're left with just 6 real original songs. I guess I would have preferred to see the band eliminate the fluff and present a strong EP than to pad the running time to eke out a full-length CD marred by so many skippable tracks. "Inferno" and "Kill 'em/Love 'em" are particularly egregious offenders, together accounting for 9 minutes of essentially wasted space at the end of this CD, with the former track being a placid, mellow tune that goes nowhere and the latter featuring a repetitive simple buzzsaw riff played over and over again for 5 minutes with annoying whispered chants of "kill 'em, love 'em" muttered ad nauseum over the top for the entire song. Yuck.

So the bottom line here is simple. If you loved Pete Blakk's guitar work during his tour of duty with King Diamond, if you don't mind (or, better yet, affirmatively enjoy) the over-the-top screams of Wade Black, and if the idea of 'Jugulator'-meets-'Them' sounds intriguing, then by all means seek out Disaster Peace without delay. For everyone else, this CD would fall into the category of solid, but certainly not essential, notwithstanding the talented cast.




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