You could look at this album’s cover art, listen to the record, and be forgiven for thinking that it was circa 1988. Lyrics and artwork about nuclear holocaust, anthropomorphic demon on the cover, sharply-pointed font, and eight roughly five- to eight-minute thrash rhapsodies…apart from a minute or so of Cookie Monster death metal vocals, Reign Of Fury makes no effort to incorporate anything from the last 25 years into their 2013 release.
And that’s all good because the album’s all good. I mean, it’s a bit weird that you would look back at 80’s era Testament and Metallica and think, “Yeah, we can outdo that.” Because, no, you can’t, and no, this doesn’t. But still, this proves that there are a ton of great songs from that canon that haven’t been written yet and, hell, let’s go ahead and release them as an album. They do a hell of a job with it and I can’t find much to criticize.
It’s good enough that I’m tempted to give it 4.5 clowns, but…well, I feel you could avoid veering into the faster/darker/eviller/lessMelodicer tunnel that metal’s gone down in the past two decades and still find some way to move the genre forward. With their debut album, they’ve shown that they mastered the genre as it was at its apex. I’ll be here for their next releases to see if they can show us a better way forward for metal from that point than that which we’ve taken.
One lingering question I have is whether or not this is a Christian rock band. I can’t find any explicit evidence that they are, but there’s an awful lot of discussion of God and Jesus and heaven and hell in the lyrics (see song notes below for more). Of course, with metal, it’s tough to tell, because you can write about gods, sacrifice, death, war, legends, seven sons, elven rings, and so on, even before you get to Revelations-style stuff, and it can still sound very cool as long as it’s not super overt. (For overt, see Tourniquet.)
– “Infernal Conflict,” “Envy The Dead,” “Heaven Awaits – Hell Takes,” “Born To Die,” “World Detonation,” “Vile Submission,” “The Hound”
– “Goodbye Mother Earth”
Filed Between: Steve Reich (You Are (Variations)) and Brian Reitzell (30 Days Of Night Soundtrack)
Song Notes: After the jump
- Goodbye Mother Earth – Basically just an intro track.
- Infernal Conflict – mention of hell in title.
- Envy The Dead – See? This could be like envy the dead cuz they’re hanging out with Jesus.
- Heaven Awaits – Hell Takes – “I’ve spoken/You will die now.”
- Born To Die – I.e, born to serve your Lord?
- World Detonation – Does he say “bourgeoisie crimes”? “I’ve seen the future and it’s only gonna get worse.” Pretty sweet, but I don’t think I could (or would) work it into a mix. Too long. Starts off too slowly. Best song. Love how they pay tribute to the best of the genre by effortlessly moving from thrash rhythm to groove rhythm one bar right after the other.
- Vile Submission – Starts off with ringing arpeggiated chords that would fit on Master Of Puppets. And again, it’s kind of that been there done that aspect that’s what keeps it from being a mixer.
- The Hound – this is the “always two steps ahead” song right? Not the best song, but close, and with that part contains the best part of any song on the album.