|Review: Terror Squad - Chaosdragon Rising|
Label: World Chaos Productions
Year released: 2006
Genre: Speed Metal
Review online: November 23, 2007
Reviewed by: Nicholas Lazarus
I try to avoid having expectations. Experience and logic decree that trying to forecast any future event is utterly pointless and often leads to disappointment. Even with bands I like a lot, when they release a bomb of an album, I almost never feel "disappointment". I keep my expectations low and my standards high.
But I was so smitten with Terror Squad's incredibly inventive take on Thrash, and general fanaticism for metal on Wild Stream of Eternal Sin. I suppose I didn't even realize that I let myself have expectations here. This album was extremely hard to find, and having happened up it on in eBay, I readily snatched it up. After it had arrived, it sat on my desk for two days. I could not avoid having lofty expectations for Terror Squad, and I was worried about what I was going to hear when I put it in. To the point where I simply put off listening to it for two days despite my eagerness to get it, and all my searching for it.
And sure enough, I was extremely disappointed upon first listen. I knew simply from the eccentricity of it, that I was going to have to listen to it many times to make sense of things. Fortunately, after several more listens, it has indeed grown on me. In the end, my initial disappointment was more to this band's credit than anything. It was only because they impressed me so much before that I was disappointed that they'd changed. But you have to take this album for what it is - which I'm sure would be a feat for most people.
If I were to give this an accurate title, it would be Progressive Speed Metal . Often sloppy, with a hint of punk, remote avant garde ... and the occasional riffs that sometimes remind me of classic rock. With a load of other musical influences that I can't place with any certainty.
A good part of the album is governed by fast (occasionally hyper fast) Speed Metal in a really old school style, but with bizarre embellishments and jagged song structuring. The song Tokyo Metal Anarchy, ironically, has a punk lean to it, with hyper speed crossover which cycles back into Speed Metal . Fight Forever has a progressive rock break some way into it, Helldozer is largely based on a Motorhead sound with more elaborate drumming and Hellbound Deathboogie contains a hint of that classic rock feel. We Bite initially sounds like Di'Anno era Maiden with Di'Anno replaced by an angry Japanese thrasher. Soma is a baffling interlude track with electonica influenced guitar effects, and a trance-like feel. Which goes into the surprisingly well paced Yami Yori Fakaku which starts off sounding like a song that could be straight from their previous album.
The guitar tone can recall traditional metal, and is at times not incredibly heavy by today's standards. The drumming is extremely sloppy, and rhythmic considering the style. Despite being typically very critical of drumming, I find the sloppiness is quaint, and it fits the peculiar style. The bass thumps right to the surface, just like in older heavy metal.
I'd have no serious gripes with this if it wasn't for the herky-jerky pseudo-technical junk. There is even one song with (literally) a two second flamenco passage, and in Metal Psycho Machine there is a funk guitar riff at the end. In We Bite there is a disjointed interlude with freeform saxophone. So, I think it's reasonable to say that the band is going too far with trying to be original. Fortunately these moments are the minority, and surprisingly are rarely unenjoyable - with the exception of those I just mentioned.
If there was ever an album that took multiple listens to warm up to, it is this. Despite occasionally jagged song structures and questionable style garnishes, this album is certainly not without its merits. It's a rush of high spirited energy and often obscene display of speed. It's a genre-defying, bold take on things, and despite my negative comments almost all the songs kick ass as a whole, and all of them contain something worthwhile. Also, the parts with Japanese lyrics sound great. I really wish the band would do all their lyrics in Japanese.
So in the end, this was probably my most sought after album of the last year and I'm glad I took the time to break this in and really give it a thorough listen, otherwise this would have been a hefty disappointment. I can't say I don't prefer the previous album and sound to this, but this is certainly a noteworthy release that I would recommend in the highest if you need something different. But be warned: it's very different.
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