Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spellbound - Nemesis 2665 (2007)

Spellbound's 2005 debut Incoming Destiny was nothing ultimately that I'd write home about. It had some promise, the band sounded full of life and they performed a non-stupid branch of thrash that rekindled the fire for the 80s Bay Area without all the lamentable fashionista trappings, but the music itself was just not that inspiring. Since that time, the band picked up a good deal of praise from some veterans of the German thrash scene, like Schmier (Destruction), Sabine Classen (Holy Moses) and even Gerre of Tankard, which the band displays over at their website. Well, along comes the band's sophomore Nemesis 2665, with a cool cover and the possibility of some interesting future concept album, and it falls flat it just about every direction...

How did they garner such praise with tracks like these? Nemesis 2665 is nothing but average thrashing, still thick in the Bay Area style (Metallica, Exodus, etc) but very rarely able to conjure up a riff that is even remotely memorable. The debut had some promise in its opening moments, and then fizzled in quality. But this is pretty bleak from the onset, with a bevy of guitars that didn't sound like they took more than a few moments and a cursory knowledge of the 80s classics to compose. The Andy Classen production gives it a thickness, but no spiffy engineering job is going to create an impression of what's written here, and songs like "Demons Deadly Sins", "Pernicious Alliance", and "The Wall", while attempting to elevate themselves in the chorus segments and create reasonable moshing breakdowns, all flitter directly out the opposite ear through which they enter.

A few of the later tunes like "Back in the Thrash" or the melodic epic "Celestial Death/The Nemesis" attempt to up the enthusiasm and ante, but they fail to do much more than simply exist, and the cover of Exodus' "And There Were None" sounds paltry compared to the original, the vocals lacking all the original bite and venom. The gloss of promise that graced the Incoming Destiny debut has almost entirely evaporated here, and while there's nothing truly terrible about the album, it just can't compete in the wide world of modern thrash without the songs to back it up, no matter how many old schoolers sing it lip service. These guys can do much better than this, so let's hear it.

Verdict: Indifference [5.75/10]

No comments: