ARCHIVES, ENTER THE METAL, NEWS, REVIEWS - posted on August 12, 2014 by

The Metal has Entered… All Hail the Metal! – 98%


Enter the Metal

Wow, if this isn’t the most amazing transformation these ears have witnessed for the past 15 years or so… Seriously, even Kafka himself would find it hard to come up with a bigger metamorphosis. One should really suspend his/her disbelief, though, to see the same act behind the music here; that same act who released the awfully boring rehashed modern 90’s groover “Prototype”, one of the worst “prototypes” of the Pantera and the Machine Head-produced originals; and the same act who later tried to jump on the nu-metal wagon with an equally as shameful sophomore effort, ”Oxygen” (stop breathing here, folks!)…

The year is now 2013, and the foursome led by the frontman Joe Varga (vocals and bass) are back into action, and not only that but they’re determined to become the spokesmen of the whole Metal movement.

One would immediately discard them, first based on their awful heritage, and second based on the pompous and pretentious album-title which screams “Manowar!” louder than a horde of England-invading Vikings… However, it’s probably the title itself which may arouse the fan’s curiosity to see if there’ something inside to justify it at least a little. After all, the guys have only been circling around the Metal previously; this time they may have decided to enter it; who knows…

It would be a real pity if the fanbase has dismissed this album due to the two aforementioned reasons. Because Varga and Co. have simply outdone themselves here… To those who have eventually decided to venture into it, make sure you grab your chairs tight: the opening riffs of “Beginning of the End” will throw you out of it; this is virtuous sweeping technicality which will overwhelm you throwing everything at you from the technical arsenal during just above 6-min, a relieving balladic interlude provided in the middle. The high level of musicianship is stunning everyone playing with the utmost precision and conviction, including the vocals of Varga which are on the moderately dramatic clean side this time, quite close to the tones of Dave Mustaine, not very adventurous, but confident enough to lead the technical riff-fest here. No trace of those awful quarrelsome aggro-shouts of old; thank God, or rather… thank Metal.

And this is just the beginning… fortunately not “of the end”. Comes “Gamera”, not promising much title-wise (how many of you remember the Japanese film about the gigantic turtle of the same name?), but carrying on unabated with the technical “massacre” which this time lasts for whole 8-min serving impetuous headbanging passages interlaced with vortex-like technical throw-ins pulling the listener into it the latter also bewitched by the excellent, both melodic and screamy, leads. Later on one will inevitably have a very good time with the never-ending flow of clever arrangements, stylish guitar duels, and more or less expected time-signatures and tempo-changes, not to mention the portion of great melodic leads again offered on almost every composition. All the way to the closer “Shark Attack” which begins quite misleadingly as a ballad before the thrashing ”carnage” starts abruptly to crush your skull with fast lashing guitars and some more immediate decisions which leave the highlight moments to the leads again those hitting the top here with some of the finest licks provided on the thrash metal scene recently.

And that’s it; six tracks clocking on just under 40-min; an impressive achievement coming from a least expected place/band on the metal map…

This is so incredible that some, especially those who were familiar with the band’s earlier catalogue, may give it another spin on the same day just to make sure that they haven’t dreamt it all. This is not only a radical transformation; this is consummate, intelligently-crafted, technical/progressive music which ranks right alongside pillars of the genre, like Megadeth’s “Rust in Peace”, Coroner’s “Mental Vortex”, Sieges Even’s “Life Cycle”, and Mekong Delta’s “Kaleidoscope”. On the other hand, listening to this, one can only wonder as to why the band wasted so much time back in the 90’s to blindly emulate the vogues of the era, obviously forcing themselves to come up with such ridiculously derivative music. Or, they have used the lengthy hiatus wisely, and have undergone a profound training in technical music performance somewhere deep in the Canadian North, under the careful guidance of ethereal Eskimo shamans…

The second chapter from the guys’ conquest of the Metal scene is a fact, released very soon after the album reviewed here. Logically, the title bears no surprises (“Return of the Metal”), and the music is a very faithful follow-up to the one presented on the first chapter; in other words, we have Technical Musical Mastery Part 2, with all the staple tools of the trade lined up in “full Metal jacket”. A word of wisdom to Varga and his gang, though: they may want to drop those childish album-titles which may continue to be the main reason why a certain part of the metal fanbase would never be bothered to check out their output. So how will Episode 3 be titled in the same train of thought? “Power of the Metal”? Anyone?

Canada had some really noteworthy representatives on the technical/progressive thrash metal field in the past: Voivod, above all, but also Savage Steel, Dyoxen, Obliveon, DBC, Disciples of Power, early Annihilator (of course), Horfixion in the not so distant past… From all those it’s only Voivod who still keep the flame of the innovative and the original alive; but now they have very able assistants: almost completely unknown “ugly ducklings” from the 90’s post-thrashy underground have made a major step into becoming the “beautiful swans” of the contemporary metal scene; a major statement of intent being the abum here which is not all the band has to say, obviously. Are we talking the best kept secret on the field at present? You better believe it… and track it down. Quick.

Ladies and Gentlemen, all rise! Enter the Metal!

bayern, August 12th, 2014