Sunday, March 31, 2024


Off on an extended Spring Break this year (April-May), but will be back with more reviews in June! - autothrall

Friday, March 29, 2024

Blind Guardian - The God Machine (2022)

I consider myself a punctual person in general. I get the kids to the bus on time, I pick them up on time. If I'm coming for you, I'll be there on time. If you're picking ME up, I'm already waiting when you drive up to the curb. It's likely an obsessive compulsive thing for me, and just something I feel shows the proper amount of respect to other people, be they family or friends or acquaintances. I tell you this because Blind Guardian's 11th proper studio album The God Machine made me late for work. I'd heard a track or two in advance, of course, who hadn't? But I got the CD in the post before a shift, fired it up en route, and when I arrived at the parking lot, I just could not stop listening. I could not get up out of my seat, and promptly forgot where I was until I happened to see a customer wave to me out the rear view mirror. It was then I realized that, through the miracle of technology, I could actually stream the album OUTSIDE of my car and CD player.

But yeah, The God Machine is THAT fucking good. It totally encapsulated me with the charging fury of the unique Teutonic power metal machine, in a way that hadn't really happened for me since the 90s. Now, mind you, I like EVERY album that the band has ever produced, and there's nothing necessarily novel about this one if you've heard the rest, but it just kicked my ass over and over again and I felt a magic to the musicianship that might have been in slightly shorter supply on A Twist in the Myth, At the Edge of Time and Beyond the Red Mirror. The amazing Peter Mohrbacher artwork seemed to hint that there's a song here based on possibly kaiju or Evangelion or something, and even though that doesn't seem to the be the case, there are plenty of subjects here to nerd out about...Brandon Sanderson's The Stormlight Archive gets a tune. Great series. The Witcher novels. Good stuff! Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Fantastic. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss...well, that one started out pretty good until it devolved into the author's self-insert fantasies about shagging a fairy queen and a village of hot ninjas.

But I digress. It's all here...André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen's riffs are more inspired than they have been in forever, and what's more, they've's got a great, heavy tone on the rhythm tracks that really drives it all home, while you still get a lot of those popping, squealing little processed melodies, they just blend in better with the overall force of the production. Frederik's drumming is also fire, he's definitely one of those modern power metal drummers who can bring to bear the muscle of extreme metal, but also helps fill in all the gaps. Hansi doesn't sound he's aged a single day since the 90s, his throat still delivers that grittier personality which sounds like absolutely nobody else in his field. The leads are intense, the Queen-like choruses are as involved in their arrangement as you've always loved (another of their distinct features), and this is a 51 one minute album across which I skip absolutely nothing. All nine tracks have something to offer, whether it's the lyrical approach to their varied subjects, or the hooks around every corner, the tasty riffs waiting in the depths, or the freakout leads that catapult its magnificence into the stratosphere.

Even the slow jam, "Let It Be No More", which only gets heavy for a few seconds, is engrossing, with the scintillating acoustic guitars, backing vocals and a little of the orchestration left over from Hansi's total 2019 nerdfest Legacy of the Dark Lands. It's all as well-plotted as any of their previous albums, and Charlie Bauerfeind and company make sure to make this sound like one of the slickest power metal recordings this side of the millennium shift. This thing just explodes out of my car speakers, my PC speakers, my tinny little iPhone, and the surge of energy in "Blood of the Elves", "Deliver us From Evil", and "Damnation" takes complete control of me. The God Machine is not the most progressive of their albums, and it might not be the most ambitious either, but in 2022 when I heard this, it was exactly what I needed, and dozens of spins later I am proud to say it's become one of my favorites in the band's catalogue along with Imaginations and Nightfall in Middle-Earth. Worth being late for work, even, but just make sure you've got an alternate excuse when your boss listens to Taylor Swift and 90s butt rock and doesn't know the Guardian.

Verdict: Epic Win [9.5/10]

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Blind Guardian - Imaginations from the Other Side Live (2020)

Blind Guardian already has at least three live offerings that I can remember, all being good; 2003's Live probably remaining my favorite of them, but none of them a disappointment, and one of them, Live Beyond the Spheres being quite elaborate in all the history it covers from their discography. So I don't think the market was really chomping at the bit for another, but this is quite a popular band, so this and many more are inevitable. Also, this one has the distinction of being one of those 'played in full' performances, all the rage in recent years, though they've been around for decades. It's recorded in Germany, the band's home turf, and it's Imaginations from the Other Side, my second favorite Blind Guardian album. I'd have loved to see this myself, but I'm happy to settle with this just to hear what I was missing out on...

It's the whole shebang, all nine tracks, played in the order they appear on the studio version, sounding heavy and driven and pretty damn good, though there are a few nuances missing on the stage. For example, the volumes are often a little lopsided, with the rhythm guitar being pretty weak against the drums, vocals, effects, and leads, but it's still something you can make out well enough to support the songs and keep them thundering along. There's a hovering din of audience noise, and the effects like bells and such are amplified here, giving the whole affair a more vaulted effect than the more direct, balanced production of the original. Hansi does sound quite good, getting pretty aggressive and almost turning to extreme metal vocals in a few places, while the backing shouts also sound pretty energized. You'll also get your singalong moments that every Blind Guardian show needs as it goes dweeby, especially here with "A Past and Future Secret", and you can just hear all the lighters popping off (actually I have no idea if they allow for this in Germany but you get what I'm saying).

Hearing favorites like "The Script for My Requiem", "Another Holy War", "Born in a Mourning Hall" and especially the title track and "Bright Eyes", is all I really need to get put in a good mood, because I love this fucking band and that's not about to change even with a subpar live offering. Which this isn't, but I think of the four, if I were going on balance and quality alone, I might not choose it over the three others I've covered; but then, it's Imaginations from the Other Side, I get goosebumps hearing it, and it features a couple tunes that you're obviously not going to hear on all their live tours. Everything sounds adequate, as processed as you'd expect from their modern era, I just think such powerful songs need some more powerful rhythm guitars, but then in my head I already know how these tunes sprawl out so I was able to fill in some of those gaps inwardly. If you haven't heard this stuff, obviously get the studio disc immediately and study it meticulously, but this also isn't a bad introduction to how one of their shows just charges you up, although I've only seen them once in person. Thumbs, and lighters, up.

Verdict: Win [7.25/10]

Monday, March 25, 2024

Blind Guardian Twilight Orchestra - Legacy of the Dark Lands (2019)

Legacy of the Dark Lands is a vanity project, perhaps misbranded under the Blind Guardian moniker, in which Hansi Kursch gets his fantasy nerdery on in an even more hardcore manner than he ever did with his mainstay. Granted, there's a pretty huge crossover audience for this stuff, with lots of Blind Guardian tunes devoted to various fictional universes, some of which probably brought new fans over to the band and to the power metal genre in general, so it's not all that unusual to tie this in with the band. There's also some orchestration involved with some of their heavier albums, but nowhere near this level of overt, pompous cheese. Hansi drafts up the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, who seem to appear on a lot of metal or metal adjacent works, and a whole slew of guest vocalists to join him in exploring his epic fantasy milieu, his 'Twilight Orchestra'. It even features narration!

Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings this is not, but more of a serious if a bit generic fantasy saga like you'd find on a string of Rhapsody of Fire albums. It's certainly not intentionally stupid or silly, and there's a dark tone to the 24 tracks and 75 minutes, which range from intros and interludes, with the narrators telling the tale, to epic symphonic tracks in which Hansi flexes his pipes against the choir. If you enjoy opera or glorious Wagnerian compositions, these will probably have some appeal for you, between the calmer and whimsical flights and the sweltering belligerence. Despite the vocal presence, Kursch really lets the symphony itself shine, and they get in a lot of time and for my dollar many of the better moments on the album like "War Feeds War" and "In the Red Dwarf's Tower", the title of which does make me crack up, as much as I love the vertically stunted fantasy race in a number of IPs. The tunes have wonder, they have magnificence, they have conflict, and if you find some of the narration and chorus parts to be too dweeby or cringeworthy, you can always put on the instrumental side, which would be a far better accompaniment for your night of fiddling with your...Baldur's Gate 3, or as a soundtrack to your D&D session.

You MIGHT even hear a little of the reflection in how Hansi contributes to the Blind Guardian writing process, because there are more than a few points where I'm just imagining one of Olbrich's charging, squealing, processed guitar lines ringing out, and I was a little surprised that the tunes weren't more metalized, or that a version like that wasn't included on an extra disc. Some of the instruments and key tones (like in "Point of No Return") even feel like they might have appeared on A Twist in the Myth or something. There are also versions of this without the interludes, or an 'audio book' approach which I'm assuming must have more of the narration at the forefront with the music taking on a backing role. The production is pretty nice, and it's all pretty pro...the conductor is obviously great, as are most of the guest roles, a few of which are metal guys used to these sorts of massive projects. Does the music stir me as much as proper fantasy soundtrack? No, and it's not something I get absorbed into as much as Blind Guardian proper, but it's clearly a labor of love for Hansi and I don't mind an occasional spin.

Let's put it this way, if your inroads was "Sacred Worlds" and you dug the Sacred tie-in but thought the metal stuff was too heavy, this has your name written all over it. Otherwise, if you're a metalhead, just know what this is, and if you're not into the same sort of epic fantasy fiction and the hilarious pretentiousness of the whole thing, it's probably one to avoid at all cost.

Verdict: Win [7/10]

Friday, March 22, 2024

Autopsy - Ashes, Organs, Blood and Crypts (2023)

I was a little surprised to see another Autopsy record so hot on the heels of its predecessor, but as a fan of Morbidity Triumphant, I had hopes that this would continue that trajectory of some of their best material since their seminal works in the 80s and 90s. Ashes, Organs, Blood and Crypts has a title that certainly encompasses so much of what inspires and fuels the band's music, a love of raunchy horror, B-movie stuff of course, some of which have developed into undisputed classics. Autopsy is one of the bands that best translates this into the death metal medium, just by keeping it so sincere and ugly. Well, if I thought the band was going to dilute their quality by releasing too much in too quick a succession, I would have been very wrong, because this record is just as good as the one before it, in fact it's a little better for my money...

Only marginally, though. Ashes... starts off with the amazing, knockout combo of "Rabid Funeral" and "Throatsaw"; two churning, propulsive tunes that totally set a standard for everything to follow. The first tune actually transforms into this great, atmospheric piece at the end, with some awesome bass lines and messy but awesome leads, while the drums groove steadily along and there are all sorts of moans and growls hovering in the distance. The latter just beats the fuck out of you for the entire 2+ minutes. After that they definitely start to diversify the sound a little more, with some chuggy, death/thrashing moments ("No Mortal Left Alive"), some of their classic, semi-stoner death/doom ("Well of Entrails") and some of that deathpunk & roll they've been known for ("Toxic Death Fuk"). Not every tracks is totally off the cuff with regards to memorable riffing, but at the same time, there's nothing here I'd really skip either, the material is consistently engaging, capable of throwing a surprise or two your way, while totally adhering to the conventions the band has put into place since the late 80s on their debut album. 

The production is incredible here, a little brasher than Morbidity Triumphant, but also buries itself into my ears a little deeper. Chris's vocals are a little more focused and less raving mad, but he's still undeniably one of a kind, and the guitars and drums are flawless throughout. I'm going to give special cred to Greg Wilkinson though, his grooves throughout this thing are more noticeable than usual and offer a nice, fat, creepy lower level to the proceedings that gives you added body and dimension. It's not going to win me any cult status/points, but in the months that I've owned it, I think Ashes, Organs, Blood and Crypts tops Morbidity Triumphant and becomes one of my favorite albums in the entire Autopsy canon. In fact, I think this one even trumps the debut album, I've been enjoying it a lot, and it might just sit under Mental Funeral as one of their best. The production is amazing, the songwriting doubly so, and I won't be surprised if after a few years, this one grows on me even further. Could there be some future Autopsy masterpiece coming? At this rate, maybe by the Fall!

Verdict: Win [8.5/10]

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Autopsy - Morbidity Triumphant (2022)

I've gotten a little slack from friends in the past for stating Autopsy has never been one of absolute go-to acts in the death metal field, but I think it gets taken out of context. I've always liked the band, especially those first two albums, and appreciated the uglier, less filtered vision they brought to death metal, which has proven quite important in how many great bands it has influenced. In fact, apart from Shitfun, I think I've liked all of their studio albums, and since their resurgence with The Tomb Within EP, they've maintained one of the more consistent reunion streaks in all of the genre. In the 2020s, we're reaching a point where I'm actually starting to enjoy the material almost as much as the classics, and keep it in mind that this is happening while Chris and other members are busy with various other projects, like Static Abyss, which I might even enjoy more than the output of their mainstay!

Morbidity Triumphant is an aptly named, fun album which captures a lot of the magic of that late 90s to early 90s era, shifting between the gruesome traditional death metal and the passages of groovier riffs that fall more in line with doom or stoner metal. It genuinely feels like a sequel to Mental Funeral, down to how the songs are composed, the vocals are delivered, and to an extent the production, though Autopsy isn't about to turn its collective nose at the few studio advancements that help in its presentation, so it's a little bulkier sounding, with a solid heft to the rhythm guitars that sounds nice and gross when they throw in some more dissonant chords, and an honest, stripped lead tone that really helps deliver the burning and bluesy solos that often vomit forth from the twisted mass below. The drums are fairly simple, but again they have a nice, sincere mix and power to them that helps support the meat of the guitars, and Chris is obviously just as focused on the delivery of the vocals, which is second to none. He's always been one of the most distinct in the field because he understands the suffering and horror that should be inherent in immortalizing this style of overbearing, generic deathcore barking anywhere to be found.

The individual songs don't always blow me away, but there are a few memorable choices like the super groove of "The Voracious Ones", the dreary doom harmonies that inaugurate "Flesh Strewn Temple", or the incendiary grinding deathpunk of "Knife Slice, Axe Chop" which reminds me a lot of some of the stuff they'd been recording for their punkier EPs in recent years. "Skin by Skin" is another standout with that funereal, crawling doom intro that erupts into grinding, blasting death. It's a pretty good variety for Autopsy, one that the layman might ignore, but scratches most of the itches I'm feeling when I'm in the mood to crank one of their albums. Wes Benscoter's cover art is fucking awesome, that robe of stitched faces on the skeleton with the bleeding skull and thorny crown is unforgettable, and I lvoe how one of the guys with the removed face is actually helping stitching it, while another is defleshing more victims! A lot of sick though goes into something like this, and the fact it's in some graveyard and there's a tree upon which other victims are strung is just icing on the flesh-baked cake. He's been doing great for this band for most of their reunion period releases and this is no exception. A good album, right on the border of a great one, and I've probably spun this more than anything since Mental Funeral.

Verdict: Win [8/10]

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Autopsy - Live in Chicago (2020)

Live in Chicago isn't Autopsy's first rodeo with a live release, there were a couple put out through the underground imprint Necroharmonic Productions 20+ years ago. Neither of those were really very good, and the others were video tapes, all of which are probably quite hard to find. What I'm getting at, is that we'd never really gotten the 'de facto' official live album from the Californians, and with its great Wes Benscoter cover artwork, an extensive 18 track set, recorded at Reggie's the same year this came, and dropped just before Halloween...this has all the tools and backing to make that happen. Spoiler alert: while the tunes can often come across a little smoother on this recording than the studio albums, I'd say that this accomplishes exactly that feat, and smack dab in the midst of their resurgence which had already been going for a decade.

The vocals and leads do translate quite well here, with Chris' barks and grunts the most gruesome element of the entire performance, as they should be, resonating out over the audience like some gore-preacher tending to his cannibalistic flock. The solos are loud and over the top and definitely add that dimension of the alien and unhinged that we've always felt from their very carnal brand of death metal. Otherwise, the bass and drums sound pretty tight, as do the rhythm guitars, which have a meaty tone themselves, but the latter often sound a little too rounded off and less jagged than they might come across in their uglier, original studio versions. It's no deal breaker, and the whole effort does sound level, but in some ways the band sounds a little less volatile than you might expect. That said, it's a HUGE leap in quality over some of those older live offerings...yeah, they've got more of an underground charm, but this is actually one you could crank on your car or home stereo system and properly feel like you're in a real live environment that wasn't recorded on something like an old tape deck.

The track selection is heavily dominated by tunes from the first two albums, the classics, as you'd predict, so you've got "Severed Survival", "Charred Remains", "Gasping for Air", "Critical Madness", "Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay", "In the Grip of Winter" represented along with several more. There's a cover of "Fuck You!!" closing out the album, from Danny Coralles old band, Cali thrash obscurity Bloodbath, which was kind of fun for its crossover/punk infusion and fun lead explosion. Beyond that, there aren't many choices, so if you were hoping for an infusion of stuff off the last batch of decent albums you'd have been out of luck. "Voices" from Acts of the Unspeakable (also an oldie), "Arch Cadaver" from The Headless Ritual, "Burial" from Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves, and then one new song which would appear on the next studio album to follow this, "Maggots in the Mirror". As much as those first two are still probably my favorites, I wouldn't have minded some more picks from The Tomb Within or Macabre Eternal just for a better balance, but I'm sure the crowd was stoked for all the throwback material and it made perfect sense to keep the set list so thick with it.

All told, Live in Chicago is a solid live effort that I'd easily choose over its predecessors if I'm in the mood, but perhaps one day down the road, in the twilight of their career they'll treat us with some epic 2-3 disc spread that better compiles their whole history on the stage. Until then, I'll enjoy this one.

Verdict: Win [7.25/10]

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Asphyx - Necroceros (2021)

Along with Bolt Thrower, Asphyx certainly holds claim to its simple, churning death metal style, and obviously it's one that has some legs to it, since you're hearing new bands like Chainsword of Frozen Soul come along and do their best to impersonate it, often to great underground success. Necroceros doesn't really distance itself from the three albums before it, the entirety of the later Martin van Drunen tenure with the band, to the point that songs could hop between them without anyone noticing other than marginal details in the production, but it doesn't really need to. They've got a sound set in stone, their fanbase doesn't really want anything else, and I absolutely can relate to that dependability, since a large number of bands I listen to practice the same risk-averse approach to their material.

I'm not saying the Dutchmen are writing pop songs here, obviously, there's nothing safe about the loud, slow grinding bombast of these tunes, as it wasn't safe ever during their career, or on the three records from the very similar Hail of Bullets that Martin and Paul were also involved in. But having already been a fan of those three records, and some of the earlier Asphyx, I feel a constant craving for the band to try a little more on for size. Keep the grisly vocals, keep the enormous tones in the guitars, and the pudgy, distorted bass-lies, but screw around more with rhythmic dynamics, build some riffs that are a little beyond these assembly line structures that they've been cranking out for 30 years. I can only dream how cool it would be for some Slayer-like evil harmonies to bust out among these meatier rhythm guitars, or perhaps just imbue the basic chords with some more thrashing, slightly more involved sequences, just to change things up, striking the perfect balance like the German band Scalpture does on their amazing Feldwarts (very similar style also).

But much of Necroceros just sounds like what I've heard before. Bruising, efficient, loyal and maybe even stubborn to a fault. A couple moments stick out, like the majestic embedded melody of the chords that set up "Knights Templar Stand" and rocking "Yield or Die", or the slowly sinking wreckage of "In Blazing Oceans" with its little chugged triplets that don't always go where you predict, and end up a little warmer than you might be used to. The Dutchmen tip-toe into new waters where it might befit them to take a more direct plunge. Again, Necroceros is perfectly adequate on its own, because it will always have that massive wall of production to fall back against, which can cause even the most minimalistic riff progressions to explode ears, but it's simply never as great as it could be. Having said that, I'd pick it over a Deathhammer of Incoming Death, and anyone digging those records, or For Victory, or Crypt of Ice, or any of Memoriam's stuff, will feast on the fleshy guitars, but I'm still yearning days when I won't just consider Asphyx 'good', but mandatory. 

Verdict: Win [7.5/10]

Monday, March 18, 2024

Asphyx - Incoming Death (2016)

Three albums in to Asphyx's reunion with Martin van Drunen, and I feel like you know what you're getting to get when you spin one of these things. Crushing, basic death metal, straight from the early 90s in craftmanship, but blessed with the advancements in production that can make it sound absolutely enormous by comparison to so many of those seminal works. The Dutch act has long maintained a very workmanlike build to its material, the riffs don't really sound very evil or atmospheric or even that catchy, but they bring the brawn rather than the brains, and for that reason they're always listenable, even if I couldn't pick many of these tracks out from a selection of those on the surrounding albums. Another band that, like a Bolt Thrower or Obituary, are quite content following the same path without ever distracting themselves with some attractive side-trails.

Incoming Death is almost as predictably named as it sounds, but if I'm being truthful, there is no amount of redundancy that can't be overcome by how Martin's gruesome grunts interact with the mix on these guitars. He sounds just as fleshy as they do, and he's always been one of the more distinct throats in the field, even though my preference will always be for his presence on the first two Pestilence albums, because the music there was absolutely fucking perfect to support him. Asphyx doesn't always seem like they take a long time to put the material together, just stringing together a standard supply of chords and letting the enormity of that guitar tone do the rest of the work. You do get a variety, from the grindier sway of tremolo picked riffs in "Candiru" and "It Came from the Skies" to the more measured, doomed gait of "The Grand Denial" or snail-like grooves of "Subterra Incognita", and that goes a long way to curb off any monotony, especially with the nice occasional lead or melodic guitar line for an added dimension to the atmosphere.

The mix here, from a little-known Swedish musician and producer named 'Dan', is exactly what the material needs to fatten out its simplicity, so that the tones can district from the lack of technicality or complexity in any of the riff patterns. The bass throbs with a thick distortion, allowing it to pop out occasionally from the tank-tread weight of the rhythm guitars, and the drums keep things pretty simple, but rock out just right against the crush. The songs can get a little boring if you're expecting any surprises, but they do happen once in awhile, like the piano finale to "Subterra Incognita", or that HUGE bass groove in the depths of "Death: The Only Immortal". Overall, Incoming Death is another win for the band, though it not all that much more memorable than the two albums before it, Death...the Brutal Way and Deathhammer; marginally better recording, but the tunes don't dazzle beyond the superficiality of their massive crunch.

Verdict: Win [7.25/10]

Friday, March 15, 2024

Cryptopsy - As Gomorrah Burns (2023)

Crytopsy's drummer Flo Mounier is the same age as I am, but while I'm waking up with the aches of pains that grind deeper with every year of Middle Age, the guy sounds like he's jacked into some cybernetic shit, the living embodiment of his drum kit that makes every blast beat, double bass roll and tempo change as effortless as the input of a single key on a keyboard. Like brutal death metal is some binary language in his genetic code that automatically enables his hands and feet. The fact that the rest of his band isn't left behind his capability is a testament to how well they lock together, and due to this consistency and intensity, As Gomorrah Burns is the best album the band has put out during the McGachy-fronted era, trouncing the competent s/t from the previous decade, and the ensuing EPs, though not by a necessarily large margin.

The caveat is that this is the same, frenzied, modern tech/brutal death Crytopsy that they arguably always were, but had kind of faded into the background after a thousand other bands caught up with their skills and energy. It's a vortex of blasting death metal rhythms that alternate with thrashier, choppy outbreaks for pure neck-jerking, and rarely gets any slower than that. It's highly mechanistic sounding, and feels just like a lot of other works in the genre where individual tracks can lack the distinction of classic DM tunes. That said, they do keep some of those progressive, melodic breaks that were developed across the last EPs, and there are some formidable leads in between the grooving and thrusting, where the listener can get a little more atmosphere, something much of the brickwork brutality is lacking. The Mounier/Donaldson/Pinard trifecta is a virtual storm of limbs that never tires, and while McGachy's vocals still aren't as unique as a Lord Worm, he's well literate in this style and offers enough flexibility and professionalism that I'd consider this his best performance to date with the band; though he still clearly lacks the status of legendary growlers and snarlers you could pick out of a lineup.

As Gomorrah Burns gets better the more the band sticks its neck out for new ideas, like the flighty little melodic noodling that opens "Flayed the Swine" or the the dissonant thundering that "Obeisant" works up to. In fact, I'd love to hear the band just stretch even further into making the most weird and progressive BDM they can, though maybe not as loose and weird as something like Once Was Not or the lamentable And Then You'll Beg. But there is just so much latent musical potential here to explore even more psychotic vistas of extremity than what we're hearing. That's not to take away from this particular album, which has plenty of 'oh shit!' moments and is enjoyable whenever I'm in the mood for this style, but I still think there's room for more interesting songwriting, even if they take more breathers and don't feel the need to dizzy and impress us all the time. Wishful thinking aside, though, there's no reason the audience of brutal tech/death finesse would find much lacking in this 33-minute exercise in extremity, chalk full of the Canadians' patented weaponry.

Verdict: Win [7.75/10]