|Element (UK) - Under The Influence
30 April 2008
02. Mind Inside
03. Under The Influence
04. Bleed On My Own
06. Forged Existence
Technical Thrash Metal
2008 Vibes Records UK
Adam Calderbank - vocals, guitar
Robert Urquhart - drums
Andy Higham - lead guitar
Alex Burnell - bass
If you ever wanted to know what Machine Head would sound like if they were to focus on imitating the Justice-era Metallica song writing style (and can't be bothered to listen to "Battery" on The Blackening), the British band Element might just be what you are looking for. Unfortunately, this blatant hero worship ultimately harms the band more than it benefits them, which makes Under The Influence an album that might be a sign of good things to come for the band, but is not yet anything particularly ground breaking.
It does not give me pleasure to bash the music of a band like Element, who clearly have all the technical and theoretical chops to pull off technical thrash metal extremely well. In fact, the music on this album is good enough for me to overlook its inherent lack of originality just enough to find it to be an enjoyable listen. Nevertheless, although the riffs and arrangements here are more often than not quite interesting and impressive, they are merely an extension of what Metallica and Machine Head can do. To me, that is just one step above a tribute band and I think we should expect a little more from a band that has a record deal. Don't get me wrong, tracks like "Downfall", "Forged Existence" and the title track feature enough technical 'chuggy' riffs, interesting drum patterns and instrumental interplay to satisfy any fan of mid-to-fast-tempo thrash metal. The vocals need some work; however, they are appropriate to the style chosen by the band. And then, there is "Lucidia" and "Untold", two tracks that meander slightly from the template with atmospheric passages that work very well. Perhaps the band should work more on these elements on their future releases - it would definitely help them develop a style that they can call their own.
Under The Influence is a good album for people who don't mind listening to something that is an extension of music that they heard before. With this said, I would highly recommend for the band to work on elements unique to their own style. With a more distinguishable personal style, Element could have the potential to be one of the big names of the contemporary thrash revival movement.
Written on 12.05.2008 by
With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. Privately not actually an asshole, he lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he runs his small graphic and web design business.