Monday, March 7, 2011

Assassin - The Club (2005)

It's probably a good thing that The Club's cover photo is so hard to take seriously, because you get the impression that the band were laughing at this album almost as hard as you will be. Only you won't be laughing. Because there is nothing funny about this, and as far as the second tier of 80s German thrash bands attempting to recharge themselves through the rush of the 21st century, this must be either one of the worst, or THE worst among them. It's not that I had high expectations after Interstellar Experience, but at one point this was a fairly promising group, and they have returned to that level with their more recent offering Breaking the Silence (2011).

Now, I'd like to note that not every riff on this album sucks, and in fact there's occasionally a tangible, violent energy coursing through it that will seem thrilling and vibrant rather than dead weight. "The Club" itself features Robert Gonella really pissed off and it has a half-decent riff at the offset, but the groovy bass lines and vapid breaks and rock leads really threw me off the scent, and ultimately, like the entire effort, it feels like 70% filler and 30% Assassin. Then it's followed up by a whole slew of dude-bro rock/thrash songs like "No Fear" or "Real Friends" that offer no real value; or even worse, the crappy, creeping "Raging Mob" or the goofy groove metal of "I Swear" which you cannot listen to without cracking up. There's one melodic riff in "Go Insane" that isn't so bad, and I prefer the cover of Thin Lizzy's "Thunder and Lightning" to all of the original material here, but there solemn, tank-strewn apocalyptic landscape of Upcoming Terror just seems so far away...

Not all party thrash is necessarily all that bad. For instance, take Tankard who have often borne a similar aesthetic to this, but succeeded in it due to the frenzied but structured songwriting. The Club feels like a half-assed attempt at such a sound, only the other half takes itself seriously and it all stews about in music that no one is going to care about an hour after hearing it. It's not the crunchy guitar tone, the dorky cover pose or the lighthearted anger here that dissuades the tastes, its just the overall lack of good riffs that make you want to head bang and learn to play an instrument. Next to none of that, really, so I just can't see any reason to recommend this. Better to pretend it never happened and treat Breaking the Silence as their comeback.

Verdict: Fail [3.75/10]

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