Menace (GRE) - Open Fire review
|Release date:||January 2023|
02. Open Fire
03. Lunatic Perspective
04. Without Morality
05. Thy Hymn
06. Eye Of The Storm
07. Existential Slavery
08. Uncensored Truth
There are bands that release their second album soon after their debut in order to take advantage of the momentum. On the other hand, there are bands like Menace (GRE), who wait until the result is not just up to the standards they set at the beginning, but much higher.
The band’s debut album from 2014, Cosmic Conspiracy, was a very respectable thrash metal release, with the barrage of riffs having the protagonist role, and a subtly technical and progressive character making an appearance here and there. Open Fire started being teased in 2019, but only came out in 2023, building upon this technical and progressive element, and cranking that aspect up to 11. Compared to its predecessor, this album is more than just one level up in intricacy, production, musicianship, professionalism, maturity, and overall appeal.
And how could it not be, with Menace (GRE) being now a different band, since mastermind Stelios Kartsonis is the only one left from the debut’s line-up. His guitar playing has improved, his compositions are more engaging, and his vocals are more convincing too, touching on the growling area and adding to the already heavy Death twist of the music. Moreover, Kartsonis recruited some high-class musicians to take part in Open Fire. I am just stating the obvious here, but the performance of renowned drummer George Kollias throughout the record is jaw-dropping; the speed, the technique, the power… this is a masterclass on how to be extreme and progressive at the same time, and also on how the drums can set the foundation and perfectly match the sound of a band. The bass of jazz-trained player Michael Evdemon is adventurous and inspired, and it really pushes for centre stage carving its own path, instead of treading the same ground as the guitars.
Loaded with wicked and complex riffing, razor-sharp and wild solos, as well as impressive performances by everyone involved, the only criticism I have for Open Fire is that it sounds very much as The Sound Of Perseverance 2.0. On second thought, can this really constitute criticism? Is it easy to provide such a worthy of attention homage to the musical perfection that Death’s final album was? And, ultimately, do you know many bands who can pull this off and not fall flat on their faces?
I am sure that if Chuck could listen to this, he would be proud, And that’s the biggest compliment I can pay to Open Fire.
||Written on 11.02.2023 by|
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