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Black Thunder - All My Scars

Black Thunder
All My Scars
by Max Elias at 12 June 2019, 3:54 PM

BLACK THUNDER serves up a few cuts of raw, short-but-sweet heavy metal on their latest album. Don’t be fooled by the somewhat muted, instrumental churnings of ‘Devil in my Bones’, these guys get loud too. The opening chords of ‘Try to Break Me’ ring out like a challenge, fittingly so for a song with that title. I’m not sure that I like the vocalist, who sounds like a more audible version of the guy from Skinflint. Thy are uncharacteristically low for classic metal and have the same quasi-spoken quality found with Skinflint. The music itself is similarly slow and low, mostly dominated by the drums. Even when the solo comes in most of what I hear is cymbals crashing.

‘Angry Man’ is likewise a plodding track, seemingly influenced by Sabbath (judging by that main riff), but not done as well. It’s a bluesy, crunchy stomper, but the vocals again are preventing me from enjoying it as much as I would like to. Even the triplet groove break is reminiscent of discount Sabbath. By the time ‘Stop the Abuse’ comes on, it’s clear where on the classic metal spectrum Black Thunder falls. Rather than the strident, upbeat stylings of bands like Judas Priest or Saxon, they tend towards a darker sound. Particularly on this song it’s almost better thought of as heavy blues—which is what Sabbath would have been if Tony Iommi still had all his fingers. The riffs are very staccato, very pentatonic, and the drumming has the primal quality to match. There’s also something about the guitar tone that keeps getting in the way of my enjoying the album; it doesn’t sound full enough.

‘Days Could Stop to Run’ is the first thing here that is significantly different. As opposed to the tribal, spacious bluesy riffs on previous songs, this one starts loud and aggressive and doesn’t stop. Maybe it’s the tone they use, but at least at the beginning the song comes off as grunge-influenced to me. Regardless, this is a more typical classic-metal offering, with its consistent backbone of palm-muted notes and straight-ahead drumming. Notwithstanding the vocals, which still grate a little. ‘Fly Away’ reminds me of a heavy metal version of that time Anthrax introduced rap into their sound. So depending on who you are, maybe exciting; for me, terrible. It also means that the band has to sacrifice whatever intricacy there was in the guitar work to make room for the vocalist.

All My Scars is an album that certainly tries. The band is playing a style they seem comfortable with, which is a more modern take on classic metal from the Sabbath school. By more modern, I mean expect some hallmarks or traces of nu-metal convention here and there (the primitive, staccato breakdown riff, the inclusion of rap in ‘Fly Away’, etc.). Also, the harmonics in ‘Unrecognized Citizen’ are very ‘Pantera-lite’. I personally dislike nu metal, so this is not an album for me. That does not mean that it was poorly done; although I still have issues with the muted, weak guitar tone and the vocals.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Devil in My Bones
2. Try To Break Me
3. Angry Man
4. Stop the Abuse
5. Disorder and Pain
6. Days Could Stop to Run
7. Fly Away
8. Black Rain
9. Unrecognized Citizen
10. Anyway Have To Be Better
Lineup:
Ravasio Andrea - Drums/vocals
Ferrandi Davide - Guitar/vocals
Rossi Ivan - Bass/vocals
Record Label: Club Inferno Ent
     


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Edited 19 June 2019
 

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