Metal Church - The Present Wasteland

Ever since Amorphis first graced us with their presence back in 1990, Finland witnessed a slow but steady growth in its number of Heavy Metal bands, to the point that our beloved music is now in terms of popularity to the Finns what Lady Gaga is to the rest of the world! Throughout this process, the ‘land of the thousand lakes’ has enjoyed its own quite distinctive sound and scene so it is very strange to witness a new band such as Re-Armed looking towards neighbouring Sweden for inspiration. Anyhow, the fact remains that Re-Armed are about to release their debut album “Worldwide Hypnotize” through Massacre Records and what remains to be established is what this nine track album has to offer to Metalheads like you and me.

Even though “Worldwide Hypnotize” is the band’s debut release one cannot fail but notice quite early on in the listening process how well structured the nine compositions on offer are and how tight this quintet comes across– and both facts make absolute sense when you know that these lads have been pounding their instruments for the last decade or so. Their approach to Metal is hardly what one might call innovative, however they have a very good understanding of how to blend together all modern Thrash groovy riffs, melodic leads and screamo/growling vocals that are the main ingredients that characterise both their style and sound. True, there are moments when influences from legends such as Dark Tranquillity and Napalm Death are more than evident and you might also be excused in thinking that what the band presents us with is slightly limited in terms of variety but what is also very true is that each and every performance is the product of both passion and honesty – something that is very hard to find in most young bands these days.

“Natural Backlash” is very fitting for the role of opening track, as I find its dynamism and straight-forwardness representative of what this album has to offer. “Save Yourself” is one of the stand-out tracks, mainly due to a mean head-banging riff, and paves the way for the groovy-sounding Dark Tranquillity-influenced “Feardrops” which I found to be quite enjoyable. The average riffs of the three and a half minute “Hoax” may not have made a massive impression on me but the same cannot be said for both the same-titled “Worldwide Hypnotize” and “Deathtrap” – the former being the closest this band came to sounding like Napalm Death while the latter is the best song of the album, with its crushing Thrash riffs, intricate solos and Paradise Lost sounding melodies on its dead catchy refrain. More straight forward groovy riffs can be found in “The Bridge That Leads Nowhere” and “King Authority (Honour To Serve)” while “Trance”, the second composition to surpass the four minute mark, finds the band in a slightly more ‘experimental’ spirit with its numerous rhythmical changes that do not always work to the song’s benefit.

As I mentioned earlier in my review, “Worldwide Hypnotize” is not the type of release that will impress many with technicality or the level of song- writing, but does that really make it a bad album? Certainly not! This band is armed (pun definitely intended) with a substantial arsenal of head-banging riffs and catchy melodies that will entertain you both during an intense workout at your local gym or while sharing a few pints with your mates in your local boozer, whichever way you are inclined. Onwards and upwards, lads!

John Stefanis

Rating: ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)