CD Review

Ritual Carnage – “I, Infidel”

By Marcus Pan

I, InfidelThis band sounds so tight and on, obviously due to their twelve yers of life, but for some reason it has a cheesiness about it that I can't just get past. The speed at which the music here is played is certainly a testament to the skills of the group's players – Eddie Van Koide (guitar), Danny Carnage (vocals), Wataru Yamada (guitar), Naoya Hamaii (drums) and Hiroyuki Ishizawa (bass). The mix is well off, all instrumentation forming a solid sound and tone. But Danny's vocals over top...high over top to the point where it takes control of the song...hinders an otherwise perfect mix.

The speed of the music makes it difficult to know when you're on a new song. Play something this fast all the time and it's hard to differentiate from "this speed thrash song" and "that speed thrash song." Danny's lyrics become banal and downright silly by a third of the way through the album, taking on a teenager's vision of rebelliousness and gory dreams. Lyrics like "I need to quench my thirst for blood." This is the cheesiness I can't get past...the destructive banality of Carnage's lyrics.

Do Not Resuscitate opens as one of the better tracks on I, Infidel. As good as Megadeth at their crunchy best. Heavyset and well-played guitars open the track until Danny's vocals layed too far over the top steals from excellent play by the others. Although he goes away at least for some of the better metal solos to cross my desk in a while. Lyrics at least aren't as boorish as the rest, even if Danny Carnage wields them like a bludgeoning weapon.

Straight to the Nether Regions is strange in that Danny doesn't finish the last line of lyrics before he's "singing" the next. Great mixing and mastering job on it...but there's no way they'll perform this one live as it is on record. Great guitar solos here, faster than almost any you've heard before and worth the price of admission.

Ritual Carnage does some finely crafted speed metal. The music is undeniably heavy, crunchy and whiplash-inducing. Guitar solos are riveting and fast. The band's fourth release (the previous being The Highest Law), you can see that these guys are so tight with eachother there's nary a flaw in the instrumentation anywhere.

But Danny Carnage is certainly no Mustaine or Hetfield. Lyrically his words are mostly banal and cliche. Vocally he sounds like an angry teenager yelling at mom and dad. Strangely enough, Danny Carnage can be possibly what is holding Ritual Carnage back from being a superior version of Slayer or Megadeth.

Contact Information:
The End Records
Post: 331 Rio Grande #58, SLC, UT, 84101, USA
Phone: (801) 355-0963

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