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Shatter Messiah
Never to Play the Servant
October 2006
Released: 2006, Dockyard1
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

Sometimes weeks, even months may pass by when you don´t hear anything that is particularly interesting or ear-tickling to grab your immediate attention right after a couple of first intense spinnings (luckily it´s been a great year so far release-wise).

Shatter Messiah, a new band lead by Curran Murphy basically who's previous jobs have been in such bands as Nevermore and Annihilator – both touring – and recording-wise, was a band that threw my jaw open by a sheer amazement just in a few seconds only when I placed their debut record, NEVER TO PLAY THE SERVANT, into my CD –player. I honestly, didn´t expect to hear anything like this at all – not THIS damn good and huge sounding.

Shattered Messiah plays a straight-forward, very powerful, rich, challenging and a very Thrash –orientated, modern Heavy Metal that could be described sort of hybrid of such greats as Nevermore, Pain Museum, Iced Earth and Beyond Fear. However, don´t make yourself to think they could be a straight rip-off from any of those aforementioned bands as they are not. They just come from the same modern school of metal in which a technical, ambitious playing with all those crushing, neck-breaking riffs – added of course with a huge amount of plain natural talent, have been combined with smart melody lines (the same way like Iced Earth create and do them) and genius harmonies that only a small handful of metal bands are capable of producing these days (the ones already listed, plus bands like Mercenary and Metal Church come to my mind).

The carrying forces of Shatter Messiah, are undoubtedly Curran Murphy and his brilliant, ass-kicking guitar work in the band, and the band´s vocalist Greg Wagner (Breaker, ex-Archetype, etc.) whom true skills as one of the most powerful, wide-rang´ish metal vocalists, are unquestionable. At times Greg manages to sound very deceptive, like in “Never to Play” in which he sounds like an exact twin-brother of Warrel Dane (Nevermore) as far as his vocalism is concerned – and on the other hand, one can wonder how on earth he can actually come as close to the voice of David Wayne (Metal Church, R.I.P.) in "All Sainted Sinners". It almost sounds like David has raised from the dead and done the vocals for this particular tune – not to forget how easily he even manages to reach the same register vocally in “Drinking Joy” of what Tim “Ripper” Owens has become known for. What a guy with so much awesome vocal power behind his lungs.

And co-incidence or not, but “Inflicted” reminds me ruthlessly of the Australian thrashers Hobbs Angel of Death´s song “House of Death”. Weird...

Without underestimating any of the other fellows in Shatter Messiah either, the rhythm guitarist Dusty Holt makes a perfect companionship to Curran with his 6-stringer, churning out ear-ripping riffs and clever rhythm changes that add a pummeling effect into the songs. As for the band´s skin pounder Robert Falzano, he has earned his most known spurs in Annihilator, and damn he´s very good behind his drum kit, too. Every fill, beat, etc. finds its target perfectly and yet somehow so easily - just like assassin´s bullet finds its victim´s heart. Ron, the 4-stringer possessor in the band, deserves a mention of praise also by his relaxed, but still tight and technical performance on the album.

As summa-summarum, NEVER TO PLAY THE SERVANT truly serves its listeners by all the 14 metal songs on it that scream for all those quality elements that are meant to be stamped as "instant classic" tag right after first listen already. It´s a safe bet we´ll hear a lot of more from them in the future.
Track Listing

01. Never to Play
02. Crucify Freedom
03. Fratility
04. Hatred Devine
05. Fear to Succeed
06. All Sainted Sinners
07. Inflicted
08. Drinking Joy
09. Bad Blood
10. Blasphemy Feeder
11. Deny God
12. Disillusion
13. Bleed to Shadows
14. New Kleen Killing Machine


Greg Wagner - Vocals
Curran Murphy - Lead guitar
Dusty Holt - Rhythm guitar
Robert Falzano - Drums
Ron Boisvert - Bass

Other reviews

» Never to Play the Servant
by Luxi Lahtinen

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by Anders Sandvall

» God Burns Like Flesh
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» God Burns Like Flesh
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Next review: » Shatter Messiah - Never To Play The Servant
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