Raise Hell - _Wicked Is My Game_
(Nuclear Blast, 2002)
by: Adam Lineker (
For quite some time now I have felt that the title theme from John Carpenter's seminal slasher movie "Halloween" should have been metalized in some way, if only for the sheer fun of it. Raise Hell have done exactly that and it works so much better than it would promise in theory. Although it is achieved via an interpretive cover, _Wicked Is My Game_ is nicely set up as an unserious and potentially enjoyable metal record. Which makes it quite a let down when one discovers that what Raise Hell have to offer is depressingly unremarkable; Raise Hell play aggressive metal thematically focused on horror. With a satisfyingly heavy guitar sound dominating proceeds, the frontman has a lot of Wednesday 13 (The Murderdolls AKA The Frankenstein Drag Queens From the Planet 13 Mainstream Revival) in his voice but is sidelined by a low presence in the mix. The drumming has little impact, although it infuriatingly disfigures all proceedings with an excessive wash of cymbal twattery. _Wicked Is My Game_(ugh) is a heavily melodic riff-orientated album that is competently performed and is not entirely devoid of enthusiastic vibe, but Raise Hell are first and foremostly hampered by shameless cliché. Some of the conceptuality we can forgive as it contributes to the faint humour of _WIMG_, but musically there is an overbearing sense that this has all been done before. Of course this wouldn't be a problem if _WIMG_ was a well executed and enjoyable album, but it isn't. Raise Hell have effective moments with the odd inspired riff or occasional lead break, but these are rendered impotent by mundanity and poor structuring. The songs on this album are needlessly long, just for the sake of it; the only moment besides the intro that made me pay attention was the beginning of "Another Side", as the band stopped plodding and conjured a refreshing and subtle clean melody. This was predictably short-lived, the band far too happy to jump straight back into a stodgy mass of endless riffage. Opting for slasher silliness as their point of contact, Raise Hell fail miserably to produce a half decent album and pull off a cheap trick in the process; I will remember _Wicked Is My Game_ but only for the first half a minute (and the dreadful title).
(article published 10/20/2003)
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