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Canobliss - "Man Is The Enemy" (CD)

Canobliss - "Man Is The Enemy" CD cover image

"Man Is The Enemy" track listing:

1. Hit The Floor
2. Pale Rider
3. Man Is The Enemy
4. Derrama Tu Sangre
5. Comatose
6. No Angel
7. Black Cadillac
8. Zombie Parade
9. Coffin Case Passion
10. Tools Of The Trade
11. Earth A.D.D.

Reviewed by on July 4, 2010

"In tracks like 'Hit The Floor' and 'Pale Rider' — the album's best two — bass player Chenzo Vidalez manages to do the near-impossible and add a fresh, funky element to Pedroza and Russo's Maiden-model riffing."

On "Man Is The Enemy," Canobliss reminds me a bit of a long-distance runner who sprints too hard right out of the gates. Sure, the beginning is fantastic, but as the race goes on, that runner runs out of energy.

In this case, this San Diego-based band has front-loaded the album with its best tracks, running out of energy and original ideas at the end. With that said, on a technical level, Canobliss is never anything short of excellent.

Singer Johan Maldonado's vocals range from near-rap to soaring, Maiden-like choruses without a misstep. Samson Pedroza and Jon Russo's guitar work is also top-notch. On tracks like "Hit The Floor" and "Pale Rider" — the album's best two — bass player Chenzo Vidalez manages to do the near-impossible and add a fresh, funky element to Pedroza and Russo's Maiden-model riffing.

I was thoroughly impressed with the production all the way through, though sometimes Mike Russo's drums were a little on the tinny side. Then again, with Vidalez's bass lines being as prevalent as they were, perhaps that was an intentional decision.

The first four tracks, through "Derrama Tu Sangre," are a breath of fresh air, combining a variety of styles, but then the album seems to go into autopilot a little. "Zombie Parade," for example, is so close to parts of "Man Is The Enemy" that I found myself switching back to that earlier track to make sure Maldonado's vocal lines weren't completely identical.

Ultimately, it's hard to fault Canobliss for getting a little repetitive on the tail end of "Man Is The Enemy," if only because everything is so well-played. Here's hoping that on their next album, this quintet manages to capture the same creative burst that fueled the first few tracks and channel it into new and exciting directions.

Highs: "Hit The Floor," "Pale Rider" and "Derrama Tu Sangre"

Lows: Things turn a bit repetitive toward the end.

Bottom line: Top-notch playing saves an album that starts excellently, but gets repetitive near the end.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 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)