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Stampin’ Ground
A New Darkness Upon Us
February 2004
Released: 2004, Century Media
Rating: 3.8/5
Reviewer: EvilG

It seems that there are more hardcore bands incorporating metal elements into their style. Quite a few have merged their style with modern melodic Swedish death metal and then there are those who have toyed with thrash metal. Stampin’ Ground may have some hardcore left in them, but they have grow to be a modern thrash metal band with just hints of hardcore in their music, mostly with the vocals. The drumming (by an ex-Benediction member) and riffing are derived from classic and modern thrash bands like Slayer, The Haunted, and Machine Head.



This album was my first contact with this English band. When I got the CD I didn’t read the bio to know they had any hardcore background. The album has a great sound and that is no surprise considering it is recorded, mixed, and produced by Andy Sneap. For those who might have heard that the band is hardcore…put it out of your mind. When the riffing for the first song “Don’t Need A Reason To Hate” cut in I was grinning and ready to kill. The riffing is a cross between Slayer and Testament with lots of triplets and an overall slayer thrash feel. As with most albums, the band has wisely chosen their opening track as this is the best on here and grabs you immediately. “Behind the Light”, which is also a stand out track, follows. “Killer of Society” has a few hints of Biohazard but this is buried under slayer-ish thrash rather quickly. The cool titled “Dead From the Neck Up” follows in fine form and is more angry and intense. After that is “The Cage” which is pretty much a weak song that is much too monotonous, riffs drag and repeat in places. With “Bear The Scars” the album gets back on track. Finally we hear a faster tempo on the drums…for the first 30 seconds; they should of kept that speed going damn it! It is returned to, but we need something that doesn’t slow up at all!! “Betrayal Has A Face” resembles a Machine Head song and 3:20 riff with machine gun riffing is killer. “Pain Is Weakness (Leaving The Body)” has a great speedy beginning, again for about 30 seconds before it slows back again. There must have been a dude in the studio telling them “you can only play that fast for no more than 30 seconds before returning to the more groovin’ thrash sounds”. Put the pedal down for the full song guys! Then we’re onto another of the album’s forgettable tracks with “Unmarked Grave”. The album closes with the two tracks “Ashes To Scatter” and “Mantra of a Dying World” (outro)”. “Ashes…” is one of the better tracks with more fast parts and some nice drum work.



I have a few criticisms of this album but they are not too much of an obstruction for my enjoyment. The vocals are done well, but could be mixed up more…something more “singing” orientated for some sections would be welcomed. With the lead guitars, well where the hell are they? Leads are an ABSOLUTE INGREDIENT required to play true thrash metal!!! In fact, a metal band without solos already has a huge strike against them. There could have been some faster songs, fast like “War Ensemble” or “Angel of Death”…the “don’t play fast for more than 30 seconds” rule has to be abandoned.



Bottom line - if you like bands in the vein of The Haunted, Slayer, and Machine Head, and you can handle a small amount of “alien” influence in the thrash, and an absence of leads, you’ll love this album. I know this one will be going into rotation for the next while because the riffing is so damn catchy…crank it!
Track Listing

01. A New Darkness Upon Us - Intro
02. Don’t Need A Reason To Hate
03. Behind The Light
04. Killer Of Society
05. Dead From The Neck Up
06. The Cage
07. Bear The Scars
08. Betrayal Has A Face
09. Pain Is Weakness (Leaving The Body)
10. Unmarked Grave
11. Ashes To Scatter
12. Mantra Of A Dying World – Outro

Lineup

Adam Frakes-Sime/ Vocals
Scott Atkins / Guitar
Mobs: Guitar
Ian Glasper / Bass
Neil Hutton/ Drums

Other reviews

» A New Darkness Upon Us
by EvilG

» A New Darkness Upon Us
by Anders Sandvall


Next review: » Stampin’ Ground - A New Darkness Upon Us
Previous review: » Stam1na - Raja

Stampin’ Ground
A New Darkness Upon Us
November 2003
Released: 2003, Century Media
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

The first thing they did on record was an MCD called STAMPIN’ GROUND that came in 1996, followed a year later by the debut DEMONS RUN AMOK and after that they have released another MCD and two albums. The last album came in 2000 under the name CARVED FROM EMPTY WORDS .and now it’s time for a new release. Stampin Ground have toured as an opening act with a lot of big bands like Sepultura, The Haunted, Hatebreed and Biohazard.



The new album is produced by the very well known demon-producer Andy Sneap (Arch Enemy, Testament, Machine Head etc) who has done a real great job with the production. I have no info on what studio they used or who has written the music and lyrics. I only have a promo copy so I only have the titles of the songs. This is also my first acquaintance with this English band so I can’t say so much about the bands musical development trough the years.



All of the guys in the band have grown up with hardcore/metal music so naturally they started to play a mix of hardcore/metal music. Their music has some similarities with Biohazard and the later Machine Head, but Stampin’ Ground is more metal influenced than Biohazard in my opinion. They play hardcore/metal with a lot of guitars and lead vocals high up in the mix and the music is very hard and angry. Partly it’s very aggressive metal and I think that there’s some influences of old school thrash metal in the music. The album contains 12 tracks and one intro. Adam has a very aggressive song style that fits the music perfectly, Scott/Anthony do some really nice twin guitar play and Neil impresses behind his drums.



Stampin’ Grounds latest effort is a very tempo changing well-played hardcore/metal album. They have a very competent lead singer as well as very competent musicians that know what they’re doing. This is a strong album straight through. There’s nothing bad to say about this at all. I’m very impressed by them and I strongly recommend this album. If you’re a fan of Biohazard and Machine Head this is worth a look.
Track Listing

A new darkness upon us – intro
Don’t need a reason to hate
Behind the light
Killer of society
Dead from the neck up
The cage
Bear the scars
Betrayal has a face
Pain is weakness (leaving the body)
Unmarked grave
Ashes to scatter
Mantra of a dying world – outro

Lineup

Adam Frakes-Sime – lead vocals
Scott Atkins –guitar
Anthony “Mobs” Mowbray – guitar
Ian Glasper – bass
Neil Hutton – drums

Other reviews

» A New Darkness Upon Us
by EvilG

» A New Darkness Upon Us
by Anders Sandvall


Next review: » Stan Bush - Dream the Dream
Previous review: » Stam1na - Raja





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