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February 2014
Released: 2013, Self Released
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Erich

Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Conniption formed in 2007 and released KAMIKAZE in the summer of 2013. KAMIKAZE is the band’s second album and was immediately recognized as a more varied album musically than their thrash-inflected debut. Performing as a four-piece, Conniption’s sound defies easy categorization on the new album, a somewhat unusual quality in contemporary metal bands. Mixing elements of NWOBHM, thrash and progressive metal, it is clear that the band is gradually forming their own unique style and vibe.

Album opener “Fear Itself” is one of the heavier tunes, leaning in the direction of the band’s thrash roots. Vocally, singer/guitarist Michael Brigham avoids thrash style aggression and offers a more melodic rock style with occasional stoner metal leanings. The theme of the album is established early, with dual guitars featuring a precision attack, harmonized runs, and technical complexity. The drums and bass are mixed a bit low, but lay a solid foundation for the guitar intricacies of the Brigham and House duo.

Not content to merely blaze away, the band offers numerous experimental passages like the quiet opening moments of “Bringer of War”, one of the album’s many epic tunes. Perhaps the most varied song and my personal fave on the album is “What Will Be”, a multi-faceted and melodic tune with a frenetic and furious guitar extravaganza complete with harmonized, Maiden-inspired riffs. Even the dreamy balladry of “And The Sun Ran Away With The Moon” is unconventional, combining elements of “Planet Caravan” with “Black Hole Sun” including an emotionally connecting guitar solo.

There is no shortage of tunes to digest, with KAMIKAZE containing 12 songs and over an hour of music. The case could be made that some songs could have been trimmed, the ambition of the band at times getting the better of them and carrying some tracks past their expiration date. All things considered, the strengths far outweigh any minor issues with the long running-time. This is a band gifted with notable talent and great potential, delivering songs with an unflagging confidence. A few more compact tunes and Conniption will be poised to gain the attention of a sizeable flock of metal fans. Recommended for lovers of NWOBHM with elements of modern metal and progressive rock.
Track Listing

1 Fear Itself

2 Bringer of War

3 Kamikaze

4 The Road Less Traveled

5 What Will Be

6 The Torrent

7 Driving Me Insane

8 A Loss of Innocence

9 Ready to Kill

10 Take on the World

11 And the Sun Ran Away With the Moon

12 Reunion (When Yesterday Dies)


Michael Craig Brigham - Vocals/Guitar/Piano
Bill House - Guitar/Vocals
Cody Dziuk - Bass/Vocals
Andy Martin - Drums/Percussion

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