|Chain Reaction - Vicious Circle
13 March 2009
02. Everlasting Fear
03. Worlds Of War
05. Inner Struggle
08. Phantom Life
09. Stark Reality
11. Strong Words
Being indecisive sucks. It'll make your girlfriend dump you, your grades suffer, your job annoy you, you will pay more taxes and the police will beat you more often. Whats worse, you will make albums that, whilst showing potential, will nevertheless be somewhat mediocre. Such is the case with Chain Reaction's "Vicious Circle", an album that could be great but the lack of a sense of consequence in songwriting bogs it down.
Chain Reaction is a groove thrash band, drawing comparisons with Pantera, Machine Head, Skinlab and Pro-Pain. All of the basic elements are here - thick production, mid-tempo palm muted riffs and bellowed vocals. The band is also quite good at building a progression from slower riffing to faster material with quick kick drumming and a sense of old-school thrash dynamics. Now, if only Chain Reaction could stick to these basic elements and just keep on bludgeoning the listener with them, all would be good. Unfortunately, although melody is not really the band's strong suit, they do their darnedest to pursue it. Ambitious perhaps, but not productive and about as appropriate as the Hulk picking flowers. Like in most groove-thrash, the melodic parts are delivered in a low register roar of a voice and as we all know, few bands are able to pull this kind of thing off without sounding constipated. I'm happy that Barton got around to testing the plumbing but it's not necessarily something I wanted to hear, and certainly not in almost every track. Take "Slave" for example - while the verses and breakdowns are properly meaty and groovy, the chorus just doesn't work. Luckily, certain songs, such as "Everlasting Fear" and "Freedom" simply contain enough quality riffing for the above criticism to be moot. "Stark Reality" even contains a far more agreeable approach to melody with better vocals, a template the band would better keep in mind for future releases.
"Vicious Circle" is like driving a Ford Mustang while having diarrhea. As fun as the ride might be, one can only wish it wasn't constantly interrupted by shit.
Written on 27.03.2009 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.