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Cage - Science of annihilation 4/5

Reviewed: 7-24-09


1. The power that feeds
2. Planet crusher
3. Scarlet witch
4. Spirit of vengeance
5. Black river falls
6. Operation overlord
7. Power of a god
8. Speed kills
9. Stranger in black
10. Die glocke
11. Spectre of war
12. Science of annihilation
13. At the edge of the infinite

San Diego's Cage need no introduction. Unless this is your virgin visit to the site, your heart and ears know what to expect from these speed metal messiahs. In the same vein of 'Hell destroyer', these 5 darker than black metal merchants unveil another spectacle of war, esoteric ideology, natural science, and sonic annihilation; with a true spirit of vengeance, fire, and mettle.

This has been quite a emotional month for myself and the mettle milieu. The tragic death of John "Midnight" McDonald from Crimson Glory, the dissolution of the highly acclaimed SPV Records Corporation, the break-up of Metal Church, and so much drama, have all plagued the metal minds and hearts of those near and dear to me.

Thankfully, I witnessed the wonder of Whitesnake and Judas Priest live Tuesday evening. This was an all-star attraction, hearing "British steel" played in its entirety, along with some rare cuts like "Hell patrol" and "Freewheel burning" blistering, as Rob strode the cycle of fear. It is all due to Judas Priest that bands like Cage have a place in the metal acropolis.

Nevermind Rob Halford's semi-gay attire, and epicene stage presence, the matter of key concern is that he still defends the faith with those pipes of British steel. I was quite surprised to see so many true metal shirts being donned with pride at the show, from Candlemass, Impaler, W.A.S.P., Children of Bodom, to the countless number of Iron Maiden and classic Judas Priest designs! What's also great is that Cage is going to be part of this year's ProgPower-USA festival.

Sean Peck is another screamer for vengeance, heavily influenced by the beast that is Judas Priest. Lately, this metal devil's vocal histrionics have really become diversified. This was hinted on 'Hell destroyer', especially with the bonus track: "King Diamond". On 'Science of annihilation', Sean not only honours Kim Bendix Petersen, but Dani Filth and James Rivera as well. Just check his surmounting range on the haunting tale of "Black river falls". Fans of King Diamond's ghost stories will appreciate Cage's continuous engagement in unexplained phenomena. I might add that the King is back, just check out the new "Evil" single released by Mercyful Fate last Tuesday!

Another contingency plan with Cage is to write thought provoking lyrics. 'Science of annihilation' is only loosely conceptual, save the last 3 cuts; however, the songs are so well constructed, with some very entertaining words written and sung. A song like "Stranger in black" with its "Road to ruin" (Annihilator) meets "502" (Megadeth) evil, wicked, mean, and nasty tendency is cleverly penned, and wistfully played.

Searing songs like the transformative "Planet crusher", the bewitching and libidinous "Scarlet witch", or the sentient, bedeviling "Spirit of vengeance" all deliver the goods with that rippin' edge, and non-defeating beat live preponderance, which one would expect while marching to the cadence of Cage. "Operation overlord" pays homage to the souls who sacrificed for the force of freedom, on the longest day - Tuesday, 6 June 1944. Since the CD came out in late May, this song serves as a befitting tribute to such a noble effort. This is also one of the few cuts written by super shredder Anthony Wayne McGinnis.

In keeping with the spectre of war torn conspiracy theories and hidden historical themes, previously engaged on songs like "Philadelphia experiment", and "Secrets of fatima", "Die glocke" addresses the issue concerning the purported top secret Nazi scientific technological device supposedly used in WWII. Thankfully, this was a case of the axis being denied. Just like most Cage anthems, the music is incredible!

The demi urgent 'Power of a god' is a bit more epic, and mid-paced, with some dramatically crushing time and tempo changes, and a powerful harmony solo. Overall, It is quite compulsively hammering, with a dint of the electric eyes of obsidian piecing, and scanning. The synthesizer's eerie effects add to the matter at hand.

One of the noticeable dynamics is the addition of Norm Leggio on the painted skins. His toxic psychotic waltz and evil snare all allow for a more punishing supplication and a lasting orison unto the end... amen! The Agent Steel and Exciter influenced "Speed kills" is a good example of Norm's talent. Surprisingly, this song has weaker production. This may be intentional, alluding to its pure 80s era thrust.

Again, the masters take control in another final ablution, when the 2 worlds of religion and science collide. This combined with the fret board frenetic pace of McGinnis and Dave Garcia all allow for a speed metal feast of fury. There are no ballads, or whiny and wimpy tracks, just pure mettle annihilation!




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