Sixguns Over Tombstone - "Putting Revenge On The Map" (CD)
"Putting Revenge On The Map" track listing:
1. Rumours Of My Death
3. Putting Revenge On The Map
5. When The Walls Fell
6. Boot Hill
7. Black Plague
8. Carry The Flag
10. Fire From The Sky
11. All Hallows End
Reviewed by EdgeoftheWorld on September 24, 2009
It's pretty rare that an album that starts out badly manages to win me back. Usually, with that first track, a band is putting its best foot forward. If that first track is bad, it often sours me on the rest of the album.
So imagine how hard it was for me to like Sixguns Over Tombstone's "Putting Revenge On The Map," when the first two songs are the worst on the album.
I've got to give these Canadian thrashers credit for trying to be original. They claim "Putting Revenge On The Map" is the first "country and western thrash metal album." That's an interesting idea, but one that doesn't work at all well on "Rumours Of My Death," with its high-speed riff and chorus that reminds me a bit of Europe in their hair-band glory days.
"Dragonbuster" doesn't work much better, but I'm starting to be impressed with Tim Brown and Brent Parkins' shredding ability (Parkins has since left the band). Also, drummer Adam Brown puts in some nice fast fills. That said, the chorus is overblown and the song feels much longer than its four and a half minutes.
Finally, with the third track, the band manages to get into gear. "Putting Revenge On The Map" manages to infuse a little Ennio Morricone "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" feel into the guitars. Tim Brown and Rob "The Arab Villain" (who also plays bass) do all right with the vocals, but the playing is the star on this (and all the other songs, for that matter).
"Anti-Photon" shows the band's versatility, starting with a thrashy intro before quieting down a bit for a solo. Then, the volume goes up, but the speed stays slow for a change. The two vocalists actually complement each other well throughout, and I like the clean electric guitar parts.
My favorite song on the album is "Solar," which is just a grand warp-speed thrasher with some excellent shredding. The band has the good sense to quiet things down with a clean guitar break in the middle that cleanses the palate right before Parkins and Tim Brown tear it up again.
That said, even the best shredding can't completely overcome some of this band's shortcomings. Sure, many of the songs are just an excuse to cut loose on the guitars, but I can't help but think a little more work on the lyrics and song structures could've helped out. Also, the "classic metal" falsetto screaming grows old fairly quickly.
There's no doubt that the members of Sixguns Over Tombstone are fantastic musicians. The moments where the band just cuts loose and shows off its technical ability work exceptionally well, but when it comes to the writing, many of the songs aren't quite up to snuff.
I liked "Putting Revenge On The Map," but not enough to recommend it to anyone for any reason other than some fine fast guitar playing.
Highs: The level of musicianship is high.
Lows: The level of songwriting is low.
Bottom line: The playing is great, but most of the songs aren't that memorable.
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