Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Living Death - Metal Revolution (1985)

Not only were we treated with a Speed Revolution courtesy of 1985 and Vectom, but also a Metal Revolution thanks to Living Death. Thankfully, this is the superior revolution, and a step up for the German band as they matured into a more aggressive sound, still ripe with the speed and traditional metal of their roots, but harder hitting as thrash truly entered their borders. If you were one of the few exposed to their Watch Out! EP, you knew what to expect. Thorsten Bergmann has improved dramatically, no longer sounding so loose, foolish and disheveled, but rather a sonic, screaming weapon not unlike the master Udo Dirkschneider of Accept. The band also acquired a new drummer in Andreas Oberhoff, who would spend only a few years with the band, but provides a more solid foundation.

Metal Revolution is one of those records that begins mediocre at best, with "Killing Machine", in which the showcase is really Bergmann's more 'restrained' wailing, and then "Grippin' a Heart" doesn't quite build momentum, a savage but average speed metal piece with a half decent chorus. "Rulers Must Come" rocks a little harder, mid paced power/thrash metal with howling vocals, but it's not until the slower "Screaming from a Chamber" that the album really begins to shape up, with Bergmann shifting between a lower, growling register and his typical wails, and the band developing a deep, constant groove that casts an effective, dirty and mean atmosphere not unlike early Rage. The snappy, speedy "Shadow of the Dawn" and "Panic and Hysteria" are both quite good, and one wonders why these weren't use as the lead-in tracks. "Road of Destiny" has a greater sense of melody, and while the finale "Deep in Hell" isn't great, it at least returns to the street metal sound of "Watch Out!" or "Screaming from a Chamber".

While I enjoyed Vengeance from Hell despite its glaring flaws, Metal Revolution is simply better on all accounts, another step on the ladder of evolution that would characterize this band's entire career. It's almost, but not quite as entertaining as Protected from Reality, which is a more serious thrash effort with tweaked songwriting. The mix sounds good. The vocalist (finally) sounds good. And the riffs follow suit. It might have put a better foot forward, as the first few tracks seem to be the weakest of the lot, but if you can survive that 8 minutes you'll be in for a stronger forecast, and truthfully one of the best they've released. The band's saber toothed undead Viking mascot beckons you from the cover like an Uncle Sam recruitment drive, but this time out the music is possibly worth enlisting to hear.

Verdict: Win [7.75/10] (climb into your leather)

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