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Assaulter - "Boundless" (CD)

Assaulter - "Boundless" CD cover image

"Boundless" track listing:

1. Entrance (4:17)
2. Outshine (3:32)
3. Into Submission (3:40)
4. Slave To King (5:37)
5. The Perpetual War (6:02)
6. Exalt The Master (4:26)
7. Dying Day (4:23)
8. The Great Subterfuge (8:18)

Reviewed by on April 25, 2011

"This music is metal at its most essential; fast, catchy, and hard-hitting."

When a passionate metal fan hears the names Destroyer 666 or Razor Of Occam, they think of ruthless thrash metal with blackened undertones and an addiction to shredding leads. When two former members of those bands come together in Assaulter, it turns into a premise for a spellbinding affair. For their second album, “Boundless,” Assaulter is keen on molten riffs and a mid-paced, gallant feel. The band doesn’t rip through these eight songs like a cat tearing up a mouse; it slowly claws the rodent to death with no remorse.

The black metal tag has been thrown around, but except for raspy snarls, there isn’t much of the genre to be found on “Boundless.” Inspiration is taken from thrash/classic heavy metal, mostly in the old-school production and insane guitar leads. This is a guitar fan’s wet dream, though not in the messy, soaking-up-the-sheets manner that Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen cause. The shredding is kept tasteful, with an emphasis on harmonies throughout the record. The only disappointment is the inaudible bass, which is lost in the mix.

The first few songs don’t do anything too shocking; just provide plenty of speedy riffage and ear-bleeding double bass drumming. “Entrance” is a surprising misfire, never really picking up steam. The fear of an average record subsides with the fiery “Outshine” and any early doubts never return. “Exalt The Master” uses the reliable trade-off solo barrage in one of the most memorable moment on “Boundless.”

The band’s last album, “Salvation Like Destruction,” had one or two fleshed-out tracks, and this album follows suit with a trio of stellar epics. “Slave To King” has a heavy reliance on steady drum fills to push the song ahead. The bagpipes on “The Perpetual War” intro is unexpected, though it sets a tone that matches the song title. The tense build-up to closer “The Great Subterfuge” takes three minutes to catapult out of the gate, and the explosive result is worth the long wait. The direct message of “God is dead” are the final words to not only the song, but the album as a whole.

Like Razor Of Occam’s first album, “Homage To Martyrs,” Assaulter’s sophomore record should benefit from having the record label Metal Blade in their court. This allows a wider group of metal heads both fanatic and casual to get a glimpse at the Australian trio. This music is metal at its most essential; fast, catchy, and hard-hitting. The solos fly loose and the lyrics are given weight with passionate vocal work. The lengthier compositions come out the best. Though the band stumbles to begin with on “Entrance,” “Boundless” is definitely worth the listen by the time the grandiose “The Great Subterfuge” finishes.

Highs: Thrash metal with blackened undertones, tons of guitar leads, lengthy songs show a different side of the band

Lows: Inaudible bass, record stumbles out of the gate with "Entrance"

Bottom line: Fast, heavy, and loaded with great guitar leads; an all-around solid sophomore effort.

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)