One Man Army and the Undead Quartet - _21st Century Killing Machine_
(Nuclear Blast, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (8 out of 10)
For those who regularly rue the untimely disbanding of The Crown, _21st Century Killing Machine_ presents a veritable oasis, a reason to put away the tear-soaked hankies and hit the play button on their CD players one more time; because even if One Man Army and the Undead Quartet isn't quite the rebirth of the aforementioned act, it does showcase the first recorded material to feature Johan Lindstrand since 2004's _Crowned Unholy_.

It's a fine return to the fray, too; not entirely different from what one would expect Lindstrand to produce at this point in his career, but with enough surprises peppering the album's fifty-odd minutes to keep things interesting. Not that you'd be able to tell off the back of the album's disappointing opener, "Killing Machine", though -- a confused affair that flits between aggressive riffing and annoyingly typical, hair-flicking guitar masturbation. By the time "Devil on the Red Carpet" kicks into high gear however, the band have firmly locked on target and thankfully remain there for the majority of the next nine tracks.

Lindstrand's vocals sound incensed as all get out, while his bandmates do a solid job of delivering chop after chop of groove-tastic musical anger. The distinctly rock 'n' roll vibe of tracks like "Behind the Church" means that the record is perhaps a little more playful than recent efforts by bands like Hate Eternal and Nile; but as far as Scandinavian death metal goes, _21st Century Killing Machine_ is just about as good as it gets these days.


(article published 2/1/2006)

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