Released: 2005, Zero Sum Recordings
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
The press sheet included with Jacknife’s debut, MOMENT OF RECKONING, promotes their sound to be “Texas-style brutality.” Well, unless Hatebreed moved to the Lone Star state and Killswitch Engage’s tandem guitar melodies start to introduce the Cowboys at home games, that statement is a complete crock. Jacknife borrows liberally from those two bands’ styles, as well as throws in a bit of Damageplan’s attitude. The press sheet further goes on to declare the band’s influences as Megadeth, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Overkill and Meshuggah, none of whom seem to pop up in Jacknife’s music on this CD. What you will find is cookie-cutter hardcore vocals (the weakest point of the album) played with blazing riffs, favorable solos and a crunchy rhythm section. The band is clearly musically adept but just about every song sounds similar and Joe Ortiz’ heavily processed, one-dimensional vocals become annoying very quickly. MOMENT OF RECKONING is generic metalcore through and through and with so much on the market these days, it is very difficult to recommend but fans of the genre will enjoy Jacknife’s obvious plethora of attitude, brutality and heaviness.
“Surrender Never” opens with a swirling riff attack and Ortiz’ bellow rattles through your speakers. The tough-guy lyrics are out in full force and promote individuality, strength and corruption popular with hardcore bands. “End of Man,” “Deception” and the title track are purely hardcore, all clocking in under two minutes. Think Terror or early Throwdown and you’re in the same ballpark. “A Glimpse of Hell” offers some genuine thrash moments with pedal-to-the-floor riffs and a drum progression that would make Slayer proud. Add in a vicious breakdown and well-timed bass bomb and this one is an ode to moshpit intensity. “Tears Fall Endless” and “Stand Your Ground” are the epitome of metalcore, tossing dual melodic riffs and a mixture of clean and harsh vocals out there with a generous helping of calculated guitar solos. Is this bad? No, but bands like Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall and As I Lay Dying have been doing the same thing—and better—for five years leaving Jacknife on the outside looking in as pale imitations.
Once a genre becomes so saturated with bands all copping the same sound, it becomes increasingly difficult to recommend the latecomers. This situation is what befalls Jacknife. MOMENTS OF RECKONING is 36 minutes of unrelenting aggression that will appeal to the Ozzfest crowd and I can guarantee that Jacknife really rips it live, too. They can certainly play their instruments and while Joe Ortiz’ vocals leave a lot to be desired, there just seems to be a looming feeling of “been there, heard that” throughout this CD. I’ve certainly heard worse but there isn’t much here that will see this band rise to the top of the heap, either, and with the metalcore fad passing faster than a fart in a windstorm, it might be time for Jacknife to find a new angle.
KILLER KUTS: “A Glimpse of Hell,” “Tears Fall Endless,” “Stand Your Ground”