"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Right Stripped - "Absence Of Humanity" (CD)

Right Stripped - "Absence Of Humanity" CD cover image

"Absence Of Humanity" track listing:

1. Phoenix
2. Silence The Hatred
3. Absence Of Humanity
4. Darkest Hour
5. Vindication
6. Our Ways
7. The Awakening
8. Forcing Isolation
9. Requiem
10. Of Saints And Martyrs
11. Demon Eyes
12. Silence The Hatred, Pt. 2
13. Soul Aflame

Reviewed by on September 15, 2010

"Drawing from progressive, thrash and power metal, Right Stripped definitely gets more right than wrong on 'Absence Of Humanity.'"

Drawing from progressive, thrash and power metal, Right Stripped definitely gets more right than wrong on "Absence Of Humanity." The album harkens back to the 1980s in a very good way, but also has a very modern vibe to it.

The album's star is definitely Josh Carney, who provides guitar, vocal and piano parts. Carney's squealing power metal solos add an interesting element to the otherwise grinding opener, "Phoenix."

I also quite enjoyed the way he transitions between a light power metal opening on "Silence The Hatred," going into a heavier, but not less technically complex groove. "Silence" is the first time we hear his keyboard playing, but for my money, his best efforts on keys are the synth part that opens "The Awakening" and the heavy but beautiful piano part in "Requiem."

Lead vocalist Joe Kiesgen has a voice that reminds me quite a bit of Twisted Sister's Dee Snider at times. And, like the aforementioned Mr. Snider, occasionally relies a little too much on his high register vocals, but never to a point that it becomes annoying. Kiesgen's finest moment comes when he's paired with guest vocalist Kelli Turczyn on "Silence The Hatred, Pt. 2."

Drummer Tim Diephouse and bassist Aaron Lanning also perform quite well, with Diephouse's introduction to "Our Ways," followed by quiet part featuring Lanning especially standing out.

On the downside, there are definitely some tracks that could've been tightened up quite a bit. Both "Forcing Isolation" and "Of Saints And Martyrs" definitely feel like they could've had some instrumental sections removed without losing much — and possibly gaining some momentum in the process.

On the whole, though, there's no absence of talent on Right Stripped's "Absence Of Humanity." Those looking for a variety of metal styles will be pleased with how well the band carries them off.

Highs: "Requiem," "Silence The Hatred, Pt. 2," "Our Ways."

Lows: A couple tracks drag on a bit too long.

Bottom line: A good album that serves up dollops of progressive, power and thrash metal.

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)