Ritual Carnage - _The Birth of Tragedy_
by: Alvin Wee (
This slab of thrashing madness merits an 8/10 or higher but for the somewhat annoying post-classic Slayer style of shouted vocals. Guitarist Wataru Yamada is more satisfyingly accompanied vocally on his new King's Evil album [CoC #58], and I probably won't be alone in making that comparison. This minor gripe aside, _The Birth of Tragedy_ stands together with the previous two albums as perhaps the best old-school speed/thrash issuing from the States. Needless to say, originality isn't a trait most highly prized in these circles, and as usual, this Japamerican combo rip more than a few pages out of Slayer's metal gospel on their way to perdition. Face-ripping hooks jump out and tear at unsuspecting listeners (see "Fall of Empire" or "Grave New World") in an entirely unprecedented way, a testament of the band's hard work between albums. The up-front production certainly does nothing to soften the impact of this sledgehammer, and while, in my opinion, the material never quite attains the raw charm or terrifying blackness of _The Highest Law_, this power trio pack enough punch to send countless other retro-clones fleeing for cover. Repeated listens pay off, and dedicated listeners will find this compact piece of mayhem yielding far more satisfaction than expected on first listen. Overall a killer piece of work once again, and a great companion to the equally -- if not more -- killer King's Evil album if you can find it.
(article published 9/1/2002)
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