TAUNTED – 9 Sins

TAUNTED – 9 Sins

21 years plugging their thrash/speed metal style, San Jose, California’s Taunted has been slowly transforming itself into more power/melodic elements, especially evident on this third full length "9 Sins". Vicious Rumors drummer Larry Howe is the latest addition to the Taunted lineup, and his potent, steady tempos add a little kick to crunchy material like "Laceration" and the slight doom swinging "Room 237".

Vocalist Jacques Serrano has one of those slightly melodic thrash voices that can also ascend to some high pitch Halford/ Rivera-ish screams when called for. Overall though when taking a deep look into these 9 songs, not much sticks out in terms of long term, memorable riffs, hooks, or vocal lines that separate the veteran acts in the genres from the second, third, and fourth tier groups. A lot of the staccato-laden, down tuned power riffs present in "Sinners Language" or mid-tempo marching strains with intertwined mini-guitar harmonies for "Chaos Theory" you’ve heard from Nevermore, Pantera, and Overkill – and arranged with infinitely more creativity or execution.

It’s a shame as I really want to like what Taunted play on the surface. "9 Sins" though isn’t fast or intense enough for the ardent speed/ thrash maniac, and the power metal fan will think the hooks and riffs are nowhere near the class of say "Master Control" era Liege Lord or even the work of Howe’s main act Vicious Rumors. The 10:19 epic closer "Tauntd 2" just meanders too far with hypnotic outer world moans from Serrano and guitar layering from Joey Genoni and Matt Gower that never plateaus.

Perseverance is essential in metal- yet sometimes you have to wonder when the window of opportunity is closing on a career, or a particular direction you wish to pursue. Taunted has limited appeal, and I foresee it waning by the minute.