Released: 2007, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: J. Campbell
As much as I’d like to avoid doing so, there’s simply no possible way to listen to One Man Army without drawing direct comparison to The Crown. Johan Lindstrand’s sandpaper snarl is as distinctive as his ridiculous mutton chops, and the sounds he expels immediately conjure impish memories of Total Satanic glories. Coupled with the death/thrash mindset of his Undead Quartet, it’s going to be difficult for fans of his former band to turn an unbiased ear. Though failing to emerge from The Crown’s long shadow, 2006’s 21ST CENTURY KILLING MACHINE showed some promise, containing a handful of wicked slices o’ metal. Ultimately, however, that album lacked the sharp edges required to leave a lasting scar. Barely a year later, ERROR IN EVOLUTION lives up to its unfortunate title, taking at least two misguided steps backward from the progress found on the debut.
Opener “Mine for the Taking” is the album’s mission statement. After a quick, rollicking drum intro, the guitars spew forth with a tantrum of fuzz. The chunky, not-quite-fast-enough riffage carries the typical One Man Army groove, but sounds more akin to a circular saw with failing batteries than the chainsaw-to-the-femur sickness this material is dying for. When the chorus hits, and Lindstrand experiments with his newfound Hetfield-isms, the long ride begins. Instead of a headfirst hellride of melodic death/thrash, it’s a leisurely 40-minute cruise through far more valleys than peaks.
For some reason, a (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek goofiness has invaded the lyricisms as well. This amateurish tomfoolery leaves much to be desired, especially when faced with the cornball K-I-S-S chants of “Knights In Satan’s Service”, or the earnest crooning within “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)”. Terror 2000 can pull the goofball lyrics out of their asses, but they’ve got ultra-fast, enamel-cracking riffs to back them up. One Man Army and the Undead Quartet are flat-out lacking in that department. Aside from a couple of well-played, wah-heavy solos, nothing about the guitar work or the drumming excites. The final track, “Hail The King”, thrashes like the entire album should have, but merely amounts to a testament to ERROR IN EVOLUTION’s crippling flaw: lack of urgency. By the time the best track unleashes itself, it’s too little, too late.
When a freshly-born band is thrust into the spotlight in this fashion, all of their flaws are magnified. Maybe a great One Man Army album is still on the horizon. Until that album surfaces, however, Lindstrand and Co. are firmly entrenched in the third tier.