This third album from this Croatian quartet ploughs a furrow that criss-crosses back and forth between traditional groove metal, nu-metal and world (more specifically eastern European) music in a way which sounds like a heady amalgam of Slipknot, Linkin Park (in their darker, heavier moments), King 810 and Subway For Sally.
While somewhat derivative in places, especially early on – opener ‘Straight To Hell’, for example, or the aptly titled ‘Monster’ could easily have acted as more-than filler tracks on any of Slipknot’s earlier albums, while ‘Rise Again’ could quit comfortably give anything on the new Machine Head opus a convincing run for its money – it really comes into its own in the second half, when it takes a darker, more melancholic turn which also sees the four musicians seeking to push themselves outside the boundaries set for themselves in the first half and develop a more imaginative, progressive sound, which in turn suits the bleakness of many of the subjects which frontman Jan Kerekeš addresses lyrically.
In fact, Kerekeš’ performance is one of the more impressive aspects of this opus, as he has a voice which is both powerful and wide-ranging, from the aggressive in-your-face grunt-meets-scream of the aforementioned opening track experimental moments such as’Dead Guardian’ and the EBM-led ‘Freedom’ through the viciously acidic ‘Silent Killer’ to the almost whispered – and fiercely effective for its laconic, its-what-you-leave-out-rather-than-needlessly-put-in approach – introspection of the towering closer ‘My Emptiness’. That’s not to say that the musical backing is second-rate or inferior in any way: Leo Friščić’s riffs stab and pierce in the best nu-metal tradition, while his melodies are appropriately brooding, with some nice unexpected layering, while bassist Zoran Ernoić and drummer Denis Roškarić provide tight and efficient backing.
Overall, this is not a startlingly original album, but it is one which is performed competently and ably, and contains enough in it to keep the listener entertained and interested for its duration.
Straight To Hell / Carnival / Rise Again / Unleash Me / Monster / Dead Guardian / Doomsday / Freedom / Silent Killer / Chameleon /My Emptiness
Recommended listening: Silent Killer
‘World War 3’ is released via Eclipse Records on January 13.