Released: 2005, Mausoleum
Had you asked me a couple years ago what band I was most looking forward to releasing their first full-length album it would have been Silencer from Denver, Colorado. I’ve had 2000’s KOZMOS EP for a few years now and that’s one fine slab of modern power/thrash. This is a band that in my mind could have a great future, if only they were offered a good label deal to record a full-length, they could kick some serious ass. Well, guess what happened? Silencer was offered a deal by Mausoleum Records. They aren’t a big label, but hell; at least it’s something right? Right?
So here I am with a promo copy of a brand new Silencer release, a full-length at that. So of course out of the whole pile of CD’s I received, this was the first one I put on. Initial thought? “This isn’t Silencer, who the fuck mixed the Silencer CD up with some random Swedish melo death/thrash/whatever band?!”. So it’s safe to say that anger was my first reaction. Slowly the signs pointed towards this actually being the Silencer album and when I sat down the lyrics and followed along there was no question, Silencer fucked up and they fucked up big time.
Somewhere in Silencer’s musical career they ditched the supreme power/thrash they had been dishing out in favour of some flavour of the month robotic Swedish death/thrash. It’s quite possible this was a natural progression for the band, seeing as only band leader, guitarist and former vocalist Keith Spargo is the only mainstay but still, how can a band drop so far before they even record a full album of material. You’re supposed to release that kick ass classic album BEFORE you screw it all up.
Anyway, DEATH OF AWE is, as mentioned previously, very much in the Swedish death/thrash vein, especially on the more mechanical end of things. The best comparison I can think of would be Darkane, which is definitely where I think Silencer are attempting to go with this album as the vocals, riffs, and drum work would indicate. There’s a very mechanical feel to the whole thing, which in some cases can work for you and in others against. Here, it’s not particularly one way or another as Silencer don’t really sound at home playing this style of music, regardless of whether their hearts are into it or not.
Aggression seems to be Silencer’s only emotion here as the album kicks off fast and aggressive in “Earth Rule Murder” and it never really stops from here on out. Certainly some dual guitar melodies pop in and out but it’s never for a long duration as the band attempt to rip ones face off and keep the energy up but the energy isn’t there. There’s even some downright bad modern stop/start riffing here, especially in “Signal to Noise” which borderlines on vomit inducing. This isn’t a band that’s clicking on all cylinders, I can’t help but think this could be so much better, even putting my bias aside for the old material for a second, there is potential here but it rarely shows itself, save for the track “Fracture” which shows some real moments of brilliance here and there it’s just underneath that “modern” crap that’s been stuck overtop. I’d liken it to putting a Budweiser label overtop of Mona Lisa’s face, you know it’s still there somewhere but some goofball just made it really hard to find, especially without ruining the whole experience.
Silencer left the game before they even started. It’s terribly unfortunate. I’m sure many, after reading this review, may believe my bias has overridden my critical taste but I assure you, this album isn’t worth your cash and you’re better off looking for the FOUND ON THE SUN compilation from a few years ago.