Released: 2007, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Building upon the momentum of 2005’s HELL SWEET HELL, German melodic death/thrash act Fear My Thoughts have moved up in the ranks and joined Century Media Records for their latest release, VULCANUS. Not much has changed sound-wise as VULCANUS still sits comfortably in the same realm as HELL SWEET HELL, a conglomeration of post-A PREDATOR’S PORTRAIT Soilwork, Scar Symmetry, Mercenary and Callenish Circle. Jacob Hansen’s impeccable production has once again put a slick sheen over everything that brings to light the band’s melodic and brutal sides at the same time. Like Mercenary did on 11 DREAMS, what separates Fear My Thoughts from the masses is their willingness to expand their sound and incorporate lush keyboard passages and vocal harmonies alongside the razor-sharp thrash riffs and mixture of clean and gruff vocals. Bonus “scene points” for landing Mike and Schmier from German thrash icon, Destruction, too!
As with any thrash album, the riff is the main point of focus and right off the bat, Patrick Hagmann and Markus Ruf drop some deadly six-string assaults on lead-off track, “Accompanied By Death” and the ending is positively jaw-dropping. Part Bay Area thrash, part melodic death, these guitar runs are vicious, melodic and complex all at the same time. Showcasing his considerable range on “Blankness,” “Soul Consumer” and “Gates of Nowhere,” Mathias Ockl’s vocals are extremely diverse, gravitating more towards Lindberg-styled growls and shrieks but he also possesses some sparsely-used clean vocals that are neither whiny nor contrived in their use. Combining the new- and old-school German thrash scene on “Accelerate or Die,” Schmier and Mike Siffringer from Destruction provide additional lead vocals and a guitar solo, respectively, and the result is speed, heaviness and neck-breaking mosh possibilities. Anubis Gate’s Kim Olesen once again adds some welcome depth to the music through the use of keyboard flourishes throughout the album. Whether subtle on “Stamp of Credence” or a dominant piece of the puzzle on the instrumental title track or the Mercenary-like “Gates To Nowhere,” Olesen’s presence is felt but never overused or sacrificial of the guitars. Even the Opeth-meets-Neurosis progressive moodiness of “Culture of Fear” and “Vulcanus” stretch the boundaries of what one would typically expect from a modern melodic death/thrash band.
To say VULCANUS is the crowning achievement of Fear My Thoughts’ seven-year, four-album career is an understatement. The band sounds tight, full and is firing on all cylinders here. Wisely ditching the metalcore leanings of their earlier work, Fear My Thoughts is quickly climbing the ladder not only on the European scene but should be ready to crack the North American market, as well. VULCANUS incorporates the type of sound that bridges metal genres and appeals to fans across the board through just the right balance of melody and aggression. With that, the backing of Century Media and the endorsement of Destruction, look for Fear My Thoughts to breakthrough in a big way in 2007.
KILLER KUTS: “Accompanied By Death,” “Blankness,” “Accelerate or Die,” “Soul Consumer,” “Gates To Nowhere”