When I first learnt of Chain Reaction
, seeing them listed as "groove metal" instantly put me off. I was never a fan of groove metal bands and was slightly apprehensive about checking them out - my brushes with bands labelled as groove metal have never been extremely positive, mostly ending up with me turning it to my usual taste of music in the mIddle of the albums.
hails from Poland, the land where bands such as Vader
come from. Therefore, expectations of a band coming from Poland are naturally high. Cutthroat Melodies
is the second full length album from Chain Reaction
, and seeing the largely positive reviews on their debut album, 2007's Vicious Cycle
, they certainly had a high mark to hit.
The album opens with a melodic guitar line before breaking into the heavily palm-muted riffs that are common fare in thrash metal. Unlike most thrash metal vocalists that either shout or bark their lyrics out, vocalist Barton chooses to sing out his vocals over the aggressive music. Of course, his vocals are suitably aggressive as well, yet retaining the melodic edge in his vocal lines to ensure that it doesn't become too boring. There are also times when Barton screams out his lines, such as on Insomnia
Revisited, which led me to wonder why he doesn't utilise this style more often.
Guitarists Dani and Wodzirej also often dish out face-ripping solos, at times provIding the listener with harmonised twin guitar leads, displaying their versatility on improvisation styles. There is also the acoustic instrumental section at the end of Insomnia
Revisited, soft, melodious and emotional, further showing what the two guitarists are capable of.
The band also proves that they can inject an element of fun in their music, such as the ringing alarm clock at the beginning of the track Prime Integers, or the quirky moment where a vocal imitates the drum beats at the beginning of God
Lives Too Long, or the short rehearsal clip on No Logo. There is also the southern rock-ish introduction to When Road
and Booze CollIde, further displaying their numerous influences. However, as the song breaks into the main body, the cheesy melody lines cause goose pimples to rise.
The suitably polished production quality of the album certainly adds on to the enjoyment of the album, since I personally find music of such genres to be of higher standards if production is more polished, compared to the raw production of genres such as black metal.
However, the breakdowns in the mIddle of some of the songs and the -core moments, such as on the track Prime Integers certainly caused the enjoyment to falter (sorry, but I'm no fan of breakdown, skip this nonsense and go straight to the point!).
Somehow, while I'm no big listener of metalcore, this album reminds me of what bands such as Shadows Fall
, or bands that fuse hardcore with thrash metal would put out, of course, not in a negative manner since fans of such music will probably devour this album fully!
Overall, while certainly not a style of music that I will actively seek out (I very much prefer my black metal, thank you), it was overall an enjoyable listen, something that I wouldn't mind listening from start to end again if someone put it on the stereo.