Special Ops - "Through the Heart of the Infidel" (CD)
"Through the Heart of the Infidel" track listing:
3. Hard Ass
4. What You Did Today
6. Pressure (Feat. Sport D)
7. Monster In Me
8. Full Circle
9. Sweet Accessory
10. Anthem Of Deceit
Reviewed by EdgeoftheWorld on September 9, 2009
"Through the Heart of the Infidel" by Montreal metallers Special Ops has all the right ingredients to be a much better album than it turns out to be.
Akbar Johnson sure fits the bill as a unique guitarist, with his incorporation of Middle Eastern finger-picking into his style. He's a good soloist, as the subdued but interesting guitar break at the end of "H.M." shows.
Singer Abe Froman's got an impressive set of pipes. Occasionally, the vocals remind me a bit of Korn's Jonathan Davis. Toward the end of the disc, some of the vocals are reminiscent of some of Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst's more melodic stylings.
Drummer Clarence McGillacutty and bassist Waldo Thornhill are especially notable on the album, providing a strong low end. I particularly enjoyed the way Thornhill's bass rumbles ominously in "What You Did Today."
The biggest problem I have with the album is that a lot of the songs feel monotonous — with an emphasis on the "monotone." Sure, a deep, grinding riff is great, but on "H.M." and "Snakebite," Johnson's playing just sounds like the same note again and again, both in the chorus and the verses.
Things start to feel a little 1999 on "Pressure," with vocals from Froman and guest rapper Sport D that really recall Limp Bizkit. I do like the bouncy riff that begins this one though.
Special Ops definitely has the chops to come up with a great album, and there are some moments of brilliance throughout "Through the Heart of the Infidel." Still, the dependence on near-monotone guitar parts and nu-metal sounds makes this one a mixed bag for me.
Highs: "What You Did Today" has great drum and bass-playing; the great bouncy riff that opens "Pressure."
Lows: Monotonous guitar sounds mar "H.M.," "Snakebite," and some other songs.
Bottom line: A good, but not great album that relies too much on sludgy, near-monotone riffing.
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