Bludgeon - _Crucify the Priest_
(Magic Circle/Metal Blade, 2002)
by: David Rocher (6 out of 10)
Chicago's thrashers Bludgeon have been granted the remarkable honour of releasing their debut album on Joey DeMaio's own label, Magic Circle Music -- promising auspices to their career indeed. With this said, however, despite the fact that _Crucify the Priest_ is an enjoyable recording, Bludgeon have yet quite a way to fare before becoming anything comparable to the Manowars of thrash metal -- although an amusingly healthy "we are heroic thrash metal warriors" stance already pervades this first recording. Technically speaking, Bludgeon have more than their fair share of abilities, and _Crucify the Priest_ teems with awe-inspiring rhythmic power, frantic drumming antics and powerful, catchy low-case riffing; only the vocals stand out as a notably lacklustre performance, owing to rhythm axeman and vocalist Mark Duca's choppy, uneventful and unemotional elocution. However, with these qualities spoken about it, _Crucify the Priest_ sadly fails to hit home; as undefinable and irritatingly ethereal as it may sound, there is something that Bludgeon lack -- they run for the raucous power of death metal, yet fail to fully recapture the lethal intensity inherent to that style; they strive to display the mean bite of cult Bay Area thrash outfits of yore, but fail to produce the razor-sharp aggressiveness and rabid meanness thrash is all about; and finally, industrious and dedicated as they may be, Chicago's four-piece simply seem miss the brilliance that tells a decent recording apart from a great release. This is however only their first release, so hopefully, their second recording may release the savagery that feels so withheld on _Crucify the Priest_, and thus turn out to be the blasting chunk of hate I would have liked to discover in the guise of this first attempt.

(article published 3/7/2002)

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