Mess Age - _Self Convicted_
(Conquer Records, 2002)
by: Adam Lineker (7.5 out of 10)
Although they incorporate some rather tired imagery and uninspired layout designs, Mess Age thrash out a driving and somewhat melodic form of metal and this becomes clear from the very start of _Self Convicted_. With a thickly produced rhythm section, the guitars churn out aggressively formulated riffs through a metallic distortion with a fuzzy edge. It is the rhythm section that really captures the attention, as the bass pulses and thumps the drums are tight and powerful, stamping authority on the music with its intrusive double pedals. Mess Age include lead passages effectively, even if they are somewhat sparsely spread. The musicianship is solid enough to give the music on _Self Convicted_ more of an impact than it may have had otherwise. Vocalist Raaf bellows hoarsely but surprisingly expressively, phrasing the tortured, angry lyrics with a basic but effective style. It is reasonably strong material, with well-constructed riffs and an effective element of complexity in the melodic elements; it even succeeds on occasion in being haunting. There are not many problems with _Self Convicted_ except for the length of the song structure; they are all just a little too long and often leave the listener behind. Lyrically, the songs are accompanied by a patchwork of vindictive grievances that are occasionally offensive, particularly on "Infected by Deflection" where Raaf yells "I saw some fags in speechless orgy of sights I threw up I watched somebody cover them with gas... and burn!". Whether or not this is a gratuitous display of boneheaded hostility, Mess Age still succeed in offering some effective metalworks, even if they prove to be a little drawn out. With a general grasp of how to be cold and aggressive, the uncompromising nature of the thrash-tinged metal on _Self Convicted_ creates many enjoyable and absorbing moments. This is a commendable work that Mess Age should be proud of.


(article published 21/3/2003)

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