Sunday, March 27, 2016

CD Review: CRIMINAL Fear Itself

Fear Itself
Metal Blade
The intro track to Criminal's release "Fear itself" is a grinding, aggressive commencement leaving the listener with a genuine anticipation for the rest of the release. Grinding, background music broken up into intervals by repeated riffs ensure that this piece is technically sound- something with further listening is to be expected as part of Criminal's trademark sound.
"Down Driven" begins with a melodic start- shifting tempo into all-out aggressive thrash sound complete with aggressive vocals- leaving the listener with the impression that Criminal are unashamedly aggressive and passionate about their music. Shifting into technically tight intervals displays the drum work combined with complementary guitar background completes a polished thrash sound. Changing cadence into a slower, more melodic feel with a brutal, aggressive ending complete with harsh vocals- this track is an ideal introduction and stands out in "Fear Itself".
"False Flag Attack" begins with a sample creating an unsettling feel moving straight into the technical thrash-groove assault to introduce the vocals. Screaming, technically sound riffs start this section of "False Flag Attack" shifting into a catchy, thrash driven grind overset by riffs- the guitar work is definitely an element to be noted in this particular track. From the lyrics and the vocals to the flawless skill of the musicians- "False Flag Attack" is a technical thrash track to be admired.
"Shock Doctrine" commences once again with a political sample- characteristic of this release. Blasting energetic drum lines combined with grinding guitars and the strong thrash vocals ensure that this track will have your head banging. The sheer speed of "Shock Doctrine" ensures appreciation of the technical aspects and tight sound consistent with Criminal's core sound.
"The Needle and The Knife" commences with the characteristic technical drum lines consistent with Criminal's "Fear Itself". Combined with bluntly aggressive guitars shredding, the political vocals stand out- for the reason being that they are intelligent, insightful and well done. Led straight into a bone crushing, screaming technical riff- the thrashing assault continues. Criminal has once again produced a technically sound, thoroughly enjoyable track failing to disappoint.
"Scream of Consciousness" commences with a slightly slower tempo- however with a more groove-grind feel and more aggressive vocal style ensure the characteristic aggression and thrash consistent of this release. Samples combined with instrumental thrash groove intervals ensure this track is aurally pleasing while continuing the consistent thrash sound of Criminal.
"Summoning the Apocalypse" commences with strong, speedy drum lines which command attention immediately with the extreme speed and technical aspects. The lyrics and vocals are the focus in this track- enhanced by the background music, categorically broken up with scorching riffs. The sheer aggressive thrash sound of this track ensures that the energy and technical aspects of "Summoning the Apocalypse" will remain with you.
"The One who speaks at Night" commences with tight and consistent musical work that is now known to be typical of Criminal's sound. The cadence is a headbangers's dream before shifting into a slower, riff-driven melodic feel. Immediately commanding your attention through a technical guitar solo combined with a consistent grinding and aggressive approach- a clearly unashamed and consistent thrash assault.
"Animals to God" commences with a political sample- characteristic of this release, artfully combined with a slower, thrash feel. The speed and technical aspects if the music is to be noted- as is the relentless energy of the drum lines. Echo-style vocals give way to an instrumental interval heavy with distorted guitars being the focal point. A brutal ending ensures another technically strong and tight track consistent with this release.
"Deep in the Rot" begins with a chaotic yet groove-ridden thrash sound. The guitar styling are considerable in "Deep in the Rot" purely for their stand-out quality in terms of technical aspects and diversity, combined with consistently excellent drum work create a very tight sound. The blatantly more aggressive approach to the vocals complete "Deep in the Rot" as an exercise in technical mastery and diversity, while maintaining a consistently heavy sound.
"Wasted Youth" commences with a more melodic feel compared to the previous track. Quickly shifting into the aggressive vocals and fast technical drumlines so typical of Criminal. The drum-lines stand out- creating a technical, speed-thrash feel integrated with guitar solos. Once again, a technically tight track that appears to be a successful exercise in testing Criminal's speed as musicians while maintaining their technical aspect- an excellent track.
"Carne Molida" is the final track in "Fear itself" and a highly suitable end to a consistently excellent release. Beginning with the speed and aggressive technical drumming typical of this release shifting into a strain of melodic guitar work commencing your ears for the final aural thrash assault. "Carne Molida" is one of the most aggressive tracks on "Fear Itself" while still displaying Criminal's musical diversity, technical mastery and outright, apologetic aggression.
Criminal "Fear Itself" is a consistently excellent, technical thrash release that displays the musician's sheer dedication to their music. Their unrelenting dedication is shown in how technically sound and consistent "Fear Itself" as a release is- their passion and dedication is reflected in it. Unashamedly technical and aggressive in their musical approach- combined with intelligent and insightful political statements ensure that "Fear Itself" is definitely a release to consider for those who truly value technical thrash. I'm genuinely looking forward to hearing more from Criminal and will be keeping a definite ear out for future releases. -Sarah McKellar

Track list:
1. Intro
2. Down Driven
3. False Flag Attack
4. Shock Doctrine
5. The Needle and Knife
6. Scream of Consciousness
7. Summoning the Apocalypse
8. The One Who Speaks at Night
9. Animals to Gods
10. Deep in the Rot
11. Wasted Youth
12. Carne Molida

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