Reviewed: July 2003
Released: 2003, Diehard
These guys have been around for along time, several albums worth but have suffered perhaps from a weak name, a lack of exposure, distribution or even adequate deals in North America. Formed out the ashes of Poltergeist, they rode out the 90’s catering to a modern metal crowd, drawing on the trends of the day, Pantera and so on. I’m not really a fan of the down-tuned, solo-resistant modern metal sound. But ya gotta admire these guys who found a little tiny niche doing the groove laden heavy shout style of metal and stuck with it long after it was popular.
Encounter pretty much stays the course, although I admit knowing little of their back catalogue, so real die-hard fan maybe well versed in the subtleties between CD’s. The cover is dull but a neat concept, the under-belly of a descending UFO. The songs, lyrics and titles are pretty uninspired but follow that vague, one-word psuedo-angry thing the kids seem to like with cuts like ‘Strive’, ‘Control’, ‘Decision’, ‘Obey’ and so on. I never did get this anti-establishment thing. If you are going to write angry, political or rebellious songs, you have to SOUND angry too or else the music just emasculates the message which is what happened here.
The whole album rides along in this mid-range, mid-tempo drone that gets very monotonous and the songs lack the structure and arrangements to make them distinguishable, they just kinda crunch together, leaving me a bit bored. This is not mallcore by any means, but suffers from what Life of Agony and Pro-Pain and other bands of this style suffer from, namely a lack of passion. The supposed intensity comes across as contrived to my ear.
Solos are pretty poor, drums thump along not many fills, hardly any cymbal work just crashing and bashing along. Nice crunchy modern production, very decent packaging with pictures and lyrics but those little extras are not enough tot put the average music from a dull band over the top. The band did include a multi-media section with a video and karaoke but in all honesty I didn’t even bother to watch it I was so unimpressed by the music. Fans of the modern rock and 90’s metal thing may want to check this out.
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