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Taunted - Zero 2.5/5

Reviewed: 4-28-06


1. Later day
2. Still believe
3. Entity zero
4. Door gate
5. Ride alone
6. Stereo furniture
7. Dream reality
8. Scent of hell
9. Leaving
10. Bloody tears
11. Taunted
12. ATG

This sure has been one grueling weak for me, so when it comes to critiquing California's Taunted, I'll have to ride alone and just go against the grain. This quartet from San Jose, home of the famous Winchester Mansion, have created a concept album based upon an alleged haunting. This saga unfolds on the first 10 tracks with some rather amorphous descriptions and some ambiguous story-telling. Taunted formed in '92 and circulated 2 demos: 'Taunted' in '92 and 'Taunted again' in '95. The 'Taunted' demo was re-released on red vinyl in 2002 by Doomed Planet Records and included these 2 tracks: "Taunted" & "The mask of the red death". The '95 demo also included these same 2 tracks and 2 new cuts: "Against the grain" & "Body of lead". On this CD, "Taunted" and "ATG (against the grain)" are re-worked and sound much better than their original versions. Both are thrashblasts which occur at the end of the CD, not aligned to the overall concept. "ATG" is an aggressive crusher with hints of newer Testament. However, the use of the term "Trillion" on the song "Taunted" as in "ten trillion nightmares" and "ten trillion times you'll see me die" is a bit excessive and quite far-fetched. Then again this sets a blighted precedent for even more disapprobation to follow.

This 4 piece display their influences adequately on several tracks. Vocalist Jacques Serrano's enunciations reminds me of Warrel Dane's dazzle on the first few Nevermore CDs. Jacques has very little pitch or range, but as he lures us deeper into the story and the "Entity zero", the subtle sound of silence echoes Nevermore. "Dream reality" has the chorus "Dreaming in black", which educes the "Dreaming neon black" chant. On the song "Leaving", I'd swear I was listening to the first Nevermore release! I also am reminded of the muzzy and somber remains common with the Annihilator mystique for several songs, like "Later day" & "Ride alone". Guitarist Joey Genoni is quite accomplished and plays in the style of Kurt Vanderhoof and Jeff Waters, with a hint of Eric Petersen. Both Jacques & Joey also play in the American metal band Annihilation. Henry Moreno (Imagika) keeps the rhythm with his steady rapid-pulse drumming, while bass player Jason Silva maintains his own homeostatic impulse.

This CD is very short clocking in at 42 minutes. I'm beginning to wonder what's the deal? With all the advancements in musical production, why are all these artists content making such laconic CDs? This is comestible and quite irksome for me. When a metal fan doles out his poor severance; his sporadic spondulix, he expects to be remunerated with more than the modicum of metal munificience. This CD also includes an instrumental "Scent of hell", which predisposes the listener to a dearth of 40 minutes of music with lyrics. I'll quote the wistful thrashers from New Jersey, Combat Records - Faith or Fear, "Pay a heavy price for your ingnorance.....ripoffs, rips you blind!". Though I may cry bloody tears, this is really getting under my skin! I pride myself on my voracity for veracity, but, with all the muss and intemperance of music on this CD, I just don't comprehend the meaning of the lyrics. I understand that this is supposed to be about a haunting, but I have zero - tolerance for ineptitude. If I did not have my lyric sheet, I would be clueless to the concept. Some songs have some interesting phraseology like "Stereo furniture" & "Entity zero", with indirect references to God, irreligiously; but overall this whole ludicrous lucubration is leaving me pondering the enigmatic. "Leaving" is an average metal song, but it ends too abruptly like Megadeth's "Liar". Then "Bloody tears" has some unnecessary expletives with some wicked sybaritic overtones, which again are way over the top.

Overall this is specious semi-thrash metal, but nothing really guaranteed. I'll reluctantly recommend it to fans of Annihilator, Nevermore, Testament, and Imagika. Even though Taunted have been around quite a long time, I still believe that they have the potential to perform and improve in the future. Given that there are a myriad of better bands which demand my diligence more, I don't forsee this CD staying in the player very much longer.




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