The Classic Struggle - _Feel Like Hell_
(Metal Blade, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (7.5 out of 10)
Hailing from Myrtle Beach in South California, The Classic Struggle are a quintet with several significant elements aligned in their favour. Not least of these is a drummer in Tyler Solnosky, who proves himself more than capable of pulling off some of the most ludicrously precise double-bass blasts you're likely to encounter all year. Moreover, there's also a guitar duo that can shred like it's nobody's business and a vocalist who sounds like a wounded rottweiler at the best/worst of times.

Given such a solid foundation of talent, the fact that the way in which they choose to apply these skills happens to be in a vastly over-populated genre is perhaps unfortunate in some ways, but it's a testament to their collective knack for crafting solid tunes that they actually manage -- more often than not -- to make the overwrought At the Gates / The Crown / The Haunted amalgamation work. Poigniant evidence of this ability includes "From These Eyes" (a track that's infused with enough hyperspeed guitar flourishes to make Steve Vai smile from ear to ear) and the superbly chuggy "Burn the Fallen".

It is true that when taken in its entirety, _Feel Like Hell_ does tend toward sounding a little samey, but it's early days yet for the band and the optimist in me wants to say that with a debut that packs this much of a wallop, you can bet your bottom dollar that you'll be hearing their name a lot more in the future.


(article published 31/5/2006)

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