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Ordeal By Fire
Released: 2005, Independent
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Hailing from the U.K. but preaching the joys of Bay Area thrash circa 1987, Deadfall have successfully purloined every riff, solo and vocal tic of SOUTH OF HEAVEN-era Slayer and MASTER OF PUPPETS-era Metallica. Now some may argue that since Metallica’s days as a “metal” band are pretty much over, at least someone is picking up the slack, but if Deadfall busted out “Battery” or “Creeping Death,” they could probably have a second gig as one of those creepy cover bands. The thrash vibes come a mile a minute but what I kept waiting for on ORDEAL BY FIRE was the band to really kick things into gear because the sluggish, mid-paced thrash heard here never really ignites. Yes, this is pure, molten metal but after the first two songs, the tedium of the pacing just overwhelms any enjoyment that may have been culled from the E.P..
“State of The Art” and “Second To None” tear along and really got my hopes up that this was going to be a kick-ass release. Pete Mather’s double bass rumbles and Mike Thompson’s riffs shred. Unfortunately, by the third song, Deadfall seems to settle into a pattern of mid-paced comfort that they never break out of. This is supposed to be thrash, so why did I find myself nodding off at the 4:00 mark of the “Enter Sandman” clone, “Nine Lies”? “Ordeal By Fire” combines the Slayer and Metallica worship to a feverish pitch (“burn…in…Hell”) but after that, things get all humdrum again. Thompson’s punctuation of his vocals with James Hetfield-like inflections (“too—niiii—yiiight,” “yeaaaaah,” “diiiiiiie—ahhhh”) seem like more than a coincidence and this quickly becomes an issue. Dave Turner’s solos are omnipresent on all tracks and he certainly knows his way around a fretboard and whammy bar. Just listen to “State of The Art” and the title track for proof.
Besides the Metallica homage/rip-off, the songs on ORDEAL BY FIRE are simply too long. Averaging over six minutes each, there is some much-needed trimming to be done on future releases by the band because any energy is stripped away by the sheer length of the songs. This is Deadfall’s debut and they have only been together since 2005, but they need to decide whether they want to be known as Deadfall or a third-rate Metallica clone. They seem to be competent musicians and have an ear for writing melodic choruses and hooky riffs, so time will surely tell, but until then, ORDEAL BY FIRE can be added to the mile-high heap of garage-band wannabes.
KILLER KUTS: “State of The Art,” “Second To None,” “Ordeal By Fire”
1. State of The Art
2. Second To None
3. Nine Lies
4. Ordeal By Fire
5. Life or Death
6. Hold My Own
Mike Thompson—Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Dave Turner—Lead Guitar
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