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Jack Slater - "Blut/Macht/Frei " (CD)

Jack Slater - "Blut/Macht/Frei " CD cover image

"Blut/Macht/Frei " track listing:

1. Blut/Macht/Frei (4:58)
2. Toten (4:55)
3. Amnestia (4:44)
4. Rohrspast (3:30)
5. Rost (8:16)
6. Du Selbst (1:49)
7. Narbe, Part I (4:04)
8. Narbe, Part II (4:20)
9. Narbe, Part III (8:01)
10. Narbe, Part IV (5:15)

Reviewed by on July 28, 2010

"While at times redundant and repetitive, 'Blut/Macht/Frei' is mostly a success."

At this point in metal, I’d imagine it would be hard for most bands to create something within their genre that rings as original. How much more difficult must it be in technical death metal, where bands range from old school death metal with technical riffs to straight hailstorms of weedly wankery. Jack Slater manages to eke out an existence somewhere in between the two extremes. “Blut/Macht/Frei” is an album that is firmly rooted with a very thrashy foundation, yet manages to pull off the tech death sound. Like most tech death albums, sections of this one tend to get a bit repetitive, but in some parts, it actually works to the band’s advantage.

The title and opening track is probably the most typical track on the album. It shows off what Jack Slater can do technically without taking it over the top. The solo on this (and pretty much every other solo on the album) seriously shreds. When the music tends to get redundant, it’s the solos that really bring it back to being interesting. “Amnestia” incorporates some great melody in the chorus sections. “Du Selbst” is a high-paced thrasher that incorporates a great drum intro and is the shortest song on the album. Clocking in at just less than two minutes, it’s surprising how much variety they manage to fit in. We also hear a lot of the thrash influence on this song with a whammy bar-raping solo. I find that Jack Slater does really well in incorporating the thrash influence, yet still staying true to a technical sound. They change up the riffing patterns enough to give both genres fair time, but still manage to keep it together. Jack Slater even manages to throw in a bit of classic rock influence without resorting to the death n’ roll sound.

The most interesting part of this album is the second half. The last four songs are titled “Narbe Parts I-IV,” and it seems like Jack Slater was going for a bit of a “metal suite” feel with these songs. All of them have very similar sounds and even use the same parts in all of the songs, but surprisingly, it works. What’s most unique about these songs is that Jack Slater incorporates a jazz influence. By “jazz influence,” I don’t mean odd time signatures or random brass instruments thrown in with the riffage. Jack Slater devotes entire sections of these songs to straight saxophone jazz. “Narbe pt. I” ends with a saxophone section that transitions perfectly into the sudden brutality of the following song.

While at times redundant and repetitive, “Blut/Macht/Frei” is mostly a success. The “Narbe” songs are very interesting and worth listening to as a whole. I think Jack Slater would have been better served structuring the entire album around a basic theme like they did with the last half, but this is still very entertaining and somewhat unique technical death metal.

Highs: Solid tech death with thrash roots.

Lows: Some parts redundant.

Bottom line: Thrashy and technical, Jack Slater pulls it off and even manages to incorporate a saxophone solo in the process.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)