SummaryLess is more
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Sometimes my curiosity gets the best of me and I’m often glad that it does. It made me want to try out this Chinese restaurant not too far from home I was not familiar with yet. It made me want to read this epic poem named Shahnameh. It also made me want to try out Outworld’s final promo record.
Let’s just say that it was a serious good move (the other two were too, mind you), as this record changed my mind of this band for the better. Whereas Outworld saw the band messing around with mediocre results, they mostly sound on fire here. Notable right off the start, “Weltschmerz” goes off with a serious bang and has many surprises in store: from that rapid-fire chugging verse, to its speedier chorus and that labyrinthine lick that connects the two segments, it represents the changes that have taken place rather well. New vocalist Carlos Zema had to replace Kelly Carpenter and while Outworld featured an amazing vocalist, (even if you hate this band, I’d have trouble believing you’d dislike Kelly Carpenter), Carlos Zema sounds actually pretty identical, even if he’s less of a snarly type and more of an aggressive shriek type. The only downside are his questionable pseudo-tough harsh growls and although I like harsh vocals, let’s just say these sound closer to the ones you’d expect out of some melodic death metal band than anything else. Still, the man does more good than harm; hearing him shatter windows on the aforementioned “Weltschmerz” and reaching out for a catchy chorus on “Blindness” before Rusty Cooley’s axe-work starts to cut, certainly makes him a worthy replacement.
Oh and what about shred-happy solos? They’re still here, somewhat, yet they’re elaborated in terms of technique, but not so much in terms of timing. As each composition ranges from four to five minutes, relying on a verse-chorus formula without any gimmicks was Outworld‘s best move without a doubt and from the fast-paced ”Weltschmerz” to the stop-go grooves of ”Faceless Enemy”, this promo leaves me craving for more. Only “Purity” still recalls Outworld quite a bit and although it’s played with an intensity that the debut lacked, it’s rather forgettable compared to the other tracks of this promo. In terms of riffing Rusty Cooley seems to fall back into his old habits here and it also doesn’t help that Carlos Zema’s lines aren’t exactly memorable (those growls sound goofier than downright intimidating, if I may say so). Still, with one weaker track and three solid ones, this promo record leaves me wondering what could have been had Outworld not split-up. At least they made a decent swansong and that’s certainly not something you could say of most bands.
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