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Fatality - "Metal As Hell!" (CD)

Fatality - "Metal As Hell!" CD cover image

"Metal As Hell!" track listing:

1. Terminal Aggression
2. Bring Back The Days
3. Almost Broke
4. Gritface
5. Shock Treatment
6. It's Devil's Night
7. Metal As Hell!
8. Are You Ready To Rock?! (bonus track)

Reviewed by on March 28, 2009

"The Metallica sound referenced here isn't the musical mastery of 'Puppets;' it's the barely controlled fury of 'Kill 'Em All,' and the attitude-laced snarl and whiplash riffing of Megadeth's 'Killing Is My Business ... And Business Is Good!' "

When most bands and writers talk about an old school thrash record, they're most likely talking about something that sounds a lot like Metallica's seminal "Master Of Puppets."

On their debut release, "Metal As Hell!," Fatality goes even older than the old school and returns thrash to its infancy. The Metallica sound referenced here isn't the musical mastery of "Puppets;" it's the barely controlled fury of "Kill 'Em All," the attitude-laced snarl and whiplash riffing of Megadeth's "Killing Is My Business ... And Business Is Good!," and, needless to say, it'll rock your socks off.

Things get off to a fantastic start with "Terminal Aggression," which features at least four of the album's 116 riffs promised in the promo — and that's before the vocals start. Guitarist and vocalist Tom Morrison, who wrote all of the songs, has a deft touch for fitting all the pieces together. Morrison and fellow guitarist Steve Wilson trade lightning fast solos just like Dave Mustaine and Chris Poland did on "Killing Is My Business ..."

The album's next track, "Bring Back The Days," would fit right alongside Megadeth tracks like "Rattlehead." In addition to being a showcase for Morrison and Wilson's fleet-fingered fretwork, it's a plea for a return to metal's glory days, with Morrison lamenting the state of modern music and inviting some bands to "fall off your stand and let the kings come up to play," in a growl that's more than a little reminiscent of the one Dave Mustaine has just recently rediscovered. Instrumentally, "Bring Back The Days" is by far the highlight of the album.

The album's other great defense of metal, "Metal As Hell!" fits right up there with Metallica's "Hit The Lights" and "Whiplash" as a thrash metal mission statement. "Make it loud as you can be, we won't stop 'till your ears bleed," Morrison sings.

The rhythm section of bassist Jason Murray and drummer Keith Gordon do a good job of propelling the songs along, but wisely stay out of the way of the rampaging guitars.

The production on the album is excellent — especially for a self-release. A bit more bass would've been OK, but it's a small quibble.

One negative point for Fatality is that Morrison has an occasional tendency to quote a little too directly from the original sources, if you catch my drift. For example, one of the main riffs to "Shock Treatment" is so close to "Metal Militia" from "Kill 'Em All," that I found myself singing the lyrics to that song over it. Also, "It's Devil's Night" sounds awfully close to Megadeth's "My Last Words" in parts.

The album is also marred by the fact that the "bonus track" that closes it, "Are You Ready To Rock?!," is no bonus at all. It is, in fact, the most stupefyingly awful song I've heard this year. I suspect that Morrison wrote it to be intentionally so, but honestly, even Jack Black couldn't rescue a parody song that had the command "it's time to thrust your cock" in the chorus. Also, after channeling thrash bands instrumentally, it's a bit weird to hear the Kiss wanna-be instrumentation on this one.

Still, seven of the eight tracks on "Metal As Hell!" are just that, calling back to the days when thrash was born. Here's hoping Fatality has a bright future ahead.

Highs: "Bring Back The Days," with its plea to return to metal's glory years, and superb guitar work throughout.

Lows: "Are You Ready To Rock?!" is too horrible to even laugh at.

Bottom line: If you're looking for the sound of thrash metal in its infancy, you'll find it here.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)