SNAKEBLADE – The Kingdom
Part of the problem is that the man likes to experiment and change pace and mood such as in the Darkest Hour meets Mötorhead opener "When Kingdoms Collide" or in the Mercyful Fate-ian King Diamond-y "Peace Sells…" Megadeth-ian "Scavenger" with the speed up very similar to Pantera’s "Over And Out" (off "Power Metal") but these frequent changes are a little abrupt and feel forced. Another problem is the tendency to stick to one trick pony such as in the early Revocation-ary "To The Pits With The Balrog" even if the track is under 2 minutes. The ideas are good to great (check out the opening sequence to "The Nine") but quite a bit all over the place.
Not all is lost, though, because the favorite, "Vamp, The Impaler" is an excellent example of what happens when it all falls into place – starting with a cool epic intro turned southern metal turned blackcore with great fitting gang shouts, reaching apogeum of aggression and finally ending with the same melodic opening sequence. The following Truent cover "Devoted to Destruction" (featuring Truent’s Matthew Pancoust on guitar solo) is another standout but this is where this nearly 24 minute "full length" ends.
The two tracks showing that there are signs Mike can and will focus on cogency leaving behind needless experimentation, I don’t feel the need to judge harshly what is, after all, a debut album from a very talented and promising musician. Let’s see what he comes up with on the follow up, and, meanwhile, check out "Vamp, The Impaler" for the best representation of his knowledge, skills and abilities.