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Third Degree
May 2000
Released: 1999, Independent
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Waspman

It's always a tough task reviewing indie bands…you want to be kind and help them out, but at the same time, your reviewers instinct kicks in like a dose of sodium pentathol and forces you to be honest (damn it!). Needless to say, this is often a "cause for conflict" (10 points if you can name the band and album). Well, thankfully, I don't have that dilemma here, 'cause Viciousphere rocks! Clocking in at a hefty 19 songs (!), these good 'ol Canadian boys bash through some searing metal. Actually, when I first threw on this CD, the first thing that came to mind was "Wow, these guys sound like Blind-era C.O.C." But hell, since C.O.C. only made one album in that style, this sure as hell ain't a bad thing!

The first clue is Dereck Harner's vocals - he's a dead ringer for Karl Agell (a perfect candidate for "Where Are They Now?"). Harner bellows out as if he were singing on that classic album, matching Agell note for note. Actually, I haven't heard this "teched" style of vocal for a long time and its quite refreshing to hear. Speaking of vocals…I have to ask the band: What the HELL possessed you to use those rap-ish vocals on "Unbreakable Bindings"??? They're absolutely some of the worst vocals I have ever heard and sound completely out of place in the crushing context of the rest of the album. Please, I'm beggin' ya's…don't ever explore that avenue of "music" again! Besides, it smacks of "cash in" and nobody likes that. Moving on…

The guitars also remind me of C.O.C., but guitarists Harner and Jeff Willstrop inject some tasty licks of their own that help them avoid the derivation tag. Check out the bitchin' "Cold Day In Hell" and "No Sacrifice" for a good taste. Sweet! "Warriors" injects a nice punky vibe into the proceedings, and, really, that's where Viciousphere rise up and show their own style. Taking a cue from C.O.C., the band then takes a "get in, strike hard, and get the hell out" mentality and wreaks as much havoc as possible without getting boring. The band also throw in a couple of slower songs "Indica" and "Just My Luck" to mix up the album and keep it from the curse of "sameness". Have no fear thrash heads, both of these songs rule, with "Indica" in particular carrying a cool vibe.

This is definitely a cool release (the band's third), and I definitely am looking forward to another release by these guys. It promises to be a barnburner! Contact the band at: for info and ordering stuff!
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» Third Degree
by Waspman

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