Bio-Cancer - Revengeance review
|Release date:||September 2023|
01. Citizen... Down!
02. 44 Days In Hell
03. Footprints On My Back
05. Dream Merchants
06. Swiping Life Away
07. Underdog (Against The Odds)
08. Bludgeoning Skullcrushing Mayhem
When revenge isn't enough.
The Hellenic thrash metal scene seems to be one of the places to be at the moment, with many a band garnering international reputations in recent years. While not the most prominent among those who spawned from the scene, Bio-Cancer have been plugging away with their violent and fast tones for over a decade now. Only now, though, are they releasing their third full length effort: 2023's Revengeance. While it does have some merit to its name, Revengeance seems to blend into the background with little to distinguish it outside of its native scene.
Aggression and speed are certainly high on the list of what makes a good thrash metal album. Bio-Cancer seem to have got this far down the list before throwing it away and turning their amps up to ten. Revengeance dispenses with any pleasantries and gets down to brass tacks almost immediately, flying out of the gate with "Citizen...Down!" and only slowing down for any kind brief moment on the title track. If you want an album to be a cathartic release of adrenaline and pent-up aggression, then you could do far worse than start here.
While the band push speed and aggression as their most prominent qualities, to me, the band overlook their strongest elements, namely the harmonic and melodic guitar work of Andreiou and Marinos. "Dream Merchants" is perhaps the best track on the album, thanks to the decision to slow down somewhat and focus on the melody (On a thrash album?! Heresy!). The duo do get moments scattered around the rest of the album where they can stretch their fingers beyond high speed riffage ("Footprints On My Back" and "Swiping Life Away" are but two). But these moments occur not often enough when you consider it's their best quality.
It isn't to say that the band aren't good at being balls to the walls, pedal to the metal (enter further cliché here) thrash. "44 Days In Hell" will certainly get a rise out of you, as will the title track; but these tracks aren't the ones you will likely remember once the ringing in your ears stops.
The weak link in Bio-Cancer's chain is the vocal work of Hatziandreou. Now, I've listened to vocals from the likes of Gutalax to the latest Sigh album, and I have a far easier time understanding them than I do Hatziandreou (even though the latter's Shiki is in Japanese....which I don't speak). For some reason I find Hatziandreou's delivery annoying, the half-screamed enunciation of the lyrics overshadow most everything else as they're pushed to the forefront of the music. Perhaps it's the fact that you can make out the shape of the word but never exactly what it is he is screaming about. All I know is that Revengeance rarely sees him deviate from this style.
The rhythm section of the band are largely overlooked, with Solomonidis getting few moments to stretch his creative muscles beyond full-tilt double bass drumming, not helped by a production that largely blurs these drums into a mess of double bass. Lagoutaris could be sitting in the studio picking his nose for all I know, for, except the odd moment here and there (such as the title track), his bass work is largely inaudible in the mix. In fact, it's only occasionally heard on the side of the wall-of-sound-attack the band employ. It is a shame the rhythm section is let down by the production, as it could have enabled a greater sense of audio diversity that the album could benefit from.
While it was fun for a few spins, Revengeance is unlikely to be an album I'll return to regularly in the future. Even though Bio-Cancer do have the talent in their ranks to make things work, you get the feeling they need to wipe the slate clean and get back to basics if they want to live up to the potential in their ranks.
||Written on 14.09.2023 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.|
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