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White Fear Chain – Visceral Life

White Fear Chain
Visceral Life
by Phil Tyler at 12 June 2022, 5:23 PM

WHITE FEAR CHAIN are an Alt-Metal band formed in Milwaukie, Wisconsin by guitarists Paul Laganowski, (R.I.P) Takis Kinis and bassist Steve Post, (⅗ of technical Power / Thrash Metallers REALM), along with GEMINI drummer Brian Reidinger and LAST CRACK’s esoteric frontman Buddo"Visceral Life" was their debut and only album released in 1996 so 25 or so years later it’s getting a re-release courtesy of Heaven and Hell Records. After the death of their guitarist Paul Laganowski, the band members met again at his funeral, played a few gigs, enjoyed the experience and re-mastered "Visceral Life", hoping to bring it to a new audience.

The 90s for me were one of the best decades for Metal of all kinds where I became passionate about the music and it was the start of the ‘Alt-Metal’ bands like TOOL, ALICE IN CHAINS, SOUNDGARDEN, PEARL JAM, WARRIOR SOUL etc that didn’t follow the same sex, drugs and rock & roll image of their predecessors. WHITE FEAR CHAIN certainly embraced this time and there are hints of ALICE IN CHAINS, PEARL JAM and TOOL in their style. “Visceral Life” opens the album up with a dirty fuzzy metal riff with a verse that wouldn’t be out of place on an ALICE IN CHAINS record. It’s a great opening track.

A hypnotic fuzzy riff carries “Daily Into Darkness” through its meandering journey. Buddo’s vocals are nicely clear in the mix and there’s some good lead guitar which accompanies the track but the track wasn’t particularly memorable. A gentle acoustic guitar opens up the interestingly titled “Roaches In The Lamplight Screaming” before it opens into a slow brooding riff and then expands into a chorus reminding me of early TOOL. The rhythm is accompanied by a satisfying lead guitar towards the end. Angsty vocals of “Before You Go” reminded me of PEARL JAM with a really strong chorus and passionate delivery.

“El Cabellero Diablo” brings some dark blues with a chugging doomy riff telling a story of some devil cowboy wandering some middle-class town. It’s an interesting track though nothing particularly outstanding. The last track “Headstone” has an urgency about it that many of the other tracks lack and I found it a bit more interesting and was one of the few head pumping moments in the album with some screaming lead guitar. Definitely one of the best tracks and at least the album ends on a bang rather than a whimper.

With a limited issue of 500 copies, it’s hard to see that 25 years later, anyone is going to be particularly blown away by an album that was lost in a sea of obscure bands in the 90s. Whilst there are some good songs on the album, very few moments stuck with me and a lot was unforgettable. The title track and final tracks certainly show promise and the musicianship and production is decent but overall it’s an average album with nothing that stands out from the crowd in the 90s, let alone 25 years later.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Visceral Life
2. Daily Into Darkness
3. Roaches In The Lamplight Screaming
4. Before You Go
5. V
6. Shotgun Mouth
7. Alive
8. El Cabellero Diablo
9. Peppermint Twist
10. Slave Becomes King
11. Headstone
Buddo – Vocals
Takis Kinis – Guitars
Paul Laganowski (R.I.P 2017) – Guitars
Steve Post – Bass
Brian Reidinger – Drums
Record Label: Heaven and Hell Records


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Edited 06 July 2022

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