From Beyond – Wow! That was a somewhat unexpected, mysterious intro, cleverly seguing from quiet eastern mysticism, to typically heavy, trad metal tones). No hesitation in these vocals, going for the classic gravel- throated approach, accompanied by slamming, groove-edged instrumentals. Some gorgeous haunting gentle riffs following the mid-section, fading out on a storming, battle metal close. Impressive.
Can You Hear Me – ARGH! WTF was that?! A suitably disturbing deathly intro, brimming with blackened effect. Growls aplenty, siren like riffs, booming bass and raining drums, pouring blood from every orifice. One for the darker metal fanatics and only to be played late at night, if accompanied by a trained exorcist.
Break Through – Ooh, changing tack, to a church choir opening, before moving, smoothly into more of the hard stuff. Fairground fodder, for gothic fantasy horror fans. A slight spoken word section gets in, through the cracks somewhere there, before reverting back to the metal cheerleader stuff. That is, metal cheerleading of the angry stormtrooper variety. A weirdly imagery evoking track.
Phoenix – Right in there, with a breezy, metallic intro, with clearly enunciated lyrics and a vibe conjuring vague pirate metal visuals. It’s a satisfactory slice of heavy filler.
The Smile That Hurts – Upping the pace a bit here, with a catchier rhythm, there’s a slight mystique in places, but otherwise, standard background metal fayre. Slight Ghost type vocals thrown in briefly, after the mid-section. Soon returning to retching screams and a downtuned bass line, of noticeable prominence, but it just ain’t doing it for me.
The Strange And Dark – Slowly, edging its way into a fantasy film soundtrack intro, continuing down the same line. Somewhat sinister, in that same visual format, though it’s missing that vital edge. Can’t help thinking it was meant for a well-intentioned musical stage theatre production. Not necessarily a bad thing in itself, though its strength does seem to lie in the visuals it evokes, rather than its audio qualities.
This Is The End – Hmm, okay, slight sea change in the intro format here, yet the variation’s so brief, there’s barely time to take it in and figure it out, before it slides back into generic noise metal. There’s an industrial, metalcore vibe to this, which may work for some, more enamoured with that scene, but just doesn’t gel for me. That ubiquitous slamming/storming emphasis holds plenty of show, in probable stage presence terms, but just seems devoid of substance. That brief electronic, closing section’s a bit puzzling, too. Just hard to gauge where they’re going with this one.
Dvoid Of Light – Jesus, that nearly burst my skull open! Hammering violence just about covers it. Great audio production values here, with a particular emphasis on the volume and Nick Cave-esque dark threads and story line feel. Fitting title. Accurate sense of doom and morbid, mortal threat.
Cthulu – Fucking hell, that’s another wake-up drum roll call. Very similar flavour to the last track. Hard to tell them apart. Gorey, dark extremity reigns, as does the stomping monster image it’s creating. Yes, we get the idea. They’re pissed off, angry and murderous. Join the queue. Next.
Hate – Unsurprising title – what is this? A paintball game, in which all your mortal enemies get repeatedly and endlessly splattered, in quick succession, in a dark forest, in the back of beyond, in the dead of night, till they’re all dead and you run away, with your lethal weapons of mass destruction, loaded in the back of your van and drive off, to a secret location, where you celebrate your kill, with beer and LSD? That’s what I’m imagining.
Overall – Oh dear. Promising start and certainly not short on enthusiasm. There’s some good stuff here, but really? Samey. Repetitive. Boring. Continuous special auditory effects, replicating an endless battering ram of cacophonous fairground noise, to accompany the roller coaster and ferris wheel? All very well for the techno contingent, as is the electronic stocking filler, but for metal purists like myself, there’s only so much of that stuff you can take. A disappointing pretence of a title it doesn’t live up to. The Devil’s music? I don’t think so. Where’s Ozzy, the Prince of Darkness, when you need him? Now I must go and comfort myself, with some strong sedatives.
For fans of industrial, techno, metalcore, grind core, death, sludge, black and extreme metal.