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Vesen - "This Time it's Personal" (CD)

Vesen - "This Time it's Personal" CD cover image

"This Time it's Personal" track listing:

1. The Threat
2. This Time it's Personal
3. Billions
4. Where the Children Go to Die
5. Chained and Bled
6. Pressure
7. We Walk Alone
8. Rubicon
9. Triumph
10. Fear of Skin
11. Stabber

Reviewed by on September 5, 2012

"'This Time It's Personal,' while having some good moments, can get tedious due to lack of variety and songs that don't really jump out at you."

The Norwegian thrashers Vesen is one of only a handful of bands from the region focusing on that style of music, and have been cranking out blackened thrash since the previous decade. Now on their fourth full-length album, the quartet has delivered another fairly competent release that resumes where 2011's "Goat Carcass Rising" left off. If anything, Vesen is steady and predictable. You know what to expect from them, which in a way can be both a good and a bad thing. Back with "This Time It's Personal," the band forges ahead with its refined thrashing style and even shows hints of other influences.

The single that was streaming in advance of the album, "Billions," is a decent anthem at the onset, but loses its steam after a while due to the rhythm settling into monotony, getting redundant and overstaying its welcome by over a couple minutes. Many of the songs tend to languish due to lack of variety, such as "Where The Children Go To Die." This track doesn't entirely get mired down, though, due to the mood being offset by a darker and more ominous rhythm that emerges midway and carries the track through a faster sequence. "Triumph" has somewhat of a black metal guitar sound, but is too rudimentary to get off the ground.

Sometimes, I think Vesen prefers a more old-school approach to simpler, loud thrashing. It's fine to keep the overall tone fast and to the jugular, but good when the band decides to change things up, like in "Rubicon." This tune sails with perhaps the most interesting guitar work that builds into some complex and varied interludes. "Stabber," likewise, is captivating with a sound that could best be explained as black grunge. It had me after the feedback and the engaging beat. The choruses and backing vocals, which appear on several songs, set this one in motion.

Ah, the choruses and vocals. Vesen's vocalist is immediately recognizable with his raspy singing that has always been prerequisite thrash, but he keeps the same tone on most of the songs. This can tend to get homogenous after a while. He has good power, but needs to fluctuate it a bit more. In "We Walk Alone," I lost count of how many times he said 'fuck' and in "Fear of Skin," the vocals only start halfway through. There's nothing wrong with that, but when they fade in, it's more like fast speaking than singing. The fast pace of the succinct and deadlier "The Threat" is more along the caustic style that fits him best.

While "This Time It's Personal" consists of plenty of moments of filler, there are some instances that kept me rapt in attention. The title track got down to business with catchier hooks, transitions and leads with a death 'n' roll flair - and even a quick bang of a cowbell. "Pressure" commanded with its fuzzed-out guitar and rolling beat, while "Chained and Bled" benefited from capable skin pounding in an otherwise average track.

Vesen don't claim to be revolutionary, but rather steady, cranking out decent middle-wave thrash. People and fans know what to expect of them and they have consistently delivered what they are known for. "This Time it's Personal," while having some good moments, can get tedious due to lack of variety and songs that don't really jump out at you. In order to step up their game, they have to be a bit more creative.

Highs: "Rubicon," "Stabber" and "Chained and Bled" show thrash with variety.

Lows: A bit too much filler and some songs that don't really pick up any speed.

Bottom line: A fairly decent album of thrashing songs from a band that is consistent.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)