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Escapetor - "Misanthropia" (CD/EP)

Escapetor - "Misanthropia" CD/EP cover image

"Misanthropia" track listing:

1. Suffocate
2. Screaming Voices
3. Black Heart
4. Split Personality
5. Your Last Prayer
6. Spread the News, live 2009 (bonus track)

Reviewed by on March 10, 2010

"'Black Heart' has the band shifting into Pantera mode, with a grinding riff that could be a Dimebag Darrell outtake, and Reppen harshening his voice into an Anselmo-esque growl."

Blending old-school '80s thrash with the angry stomp of Pantera, Escapetor's "Misanthropia" is an attitude-loaded ass-kicker with some great surprises along the way.

Hailing from Norway, Escapetor's been around in one form or another since 1999. The only original members still bashing in this band are guitarist Ragnor Nord-Varhaug and drummer Leif-Ove Haugstad. For this EP, they're joined by Ole Egeli on lead guitar (he's since left the band), as well as Mats-Henning Reppen on vocals and Henning Jansen on bass.

"Suffocate," which opens the album, is an old-school thrasher of the finest sort, with a chugging guitar riff reminiscent of early Metallica. Reppen's vocals are almost power-metal-pure in the verses, but roughen up in the choruses. Haugstad's top-notch drumming propels the song well. There's an excellent instrumental break in the middle, but it really begged for a screaming solo that, sadly, wasn't there.

"Screaming Voices" is a galloping thrasher that is a bit slower and more melodic, but doesn't lose any energy for it. This time, Egeli gets a lead guitar break, but I wouldn't call it solo exactly. It does add an interesting new dimension to the song.

"Black Heart" has the band shifting into Pantera mode, with a grinding riff that could be a Dimebag Darrell outtake, and Reppen harshening his voice into an Anselmo-esque growl. It's easily the best song on the disc, with some interesting time shifts and superb bass work by Jansen, as well as energetic drumming by Haugstad.

"Split Personality" opens with a brief guitar solo, before taking off as a high-speed, punky bruiser. Then, without warning, it slows with a clean guitar break, and then turns into a slow, sludgy rocker, reverses course back into mellow territory, and then resumes the speed. Luckily, the band handles the abrupt style changes well.

"Your Last Prayer" was the last track on "Misanthropia" when it was first issued. It's an angry mid-tempo number that features a great wah-wah-soaked solo from Egeli. I wish he'd gotten more of them through the course of the album.

I'm a bit ambivalent about the new bonus track, a live version of the band's "Spread the News." It doesn't take anything away from the disc, but it also doesn't really add much either. The song's an average-at-best thrasher, and the sound quality's a bit iffy. Still, when only three of the disc's 27 minutes are merely average, compared with 24 minutes of greatness, you can't knock it too much.

Frankly, there's nothing exceptionally new here, but it's hard to knock a band that follows an established formula this well. Thrash metal fans will find plenty to enjoy on Escapetor's "Misanthropia."

Highs: "Black Heart," "Suffocate" and "Your Last Prayer."

Lows: The unnecessary live version of "Spread the News."

Bottom line: Eighties thrash meets Pantera grooves on this excellent EP.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)