F U L L . R E V I E W S
The inexorable Cage has recently unleashed their fifth aural assault entitled Science of Annihilation, and what a barnstormer it is. This San Diego quintet have been proudly displaying the banner of true, contemporary power metal long before the recent influx of bands reaching into the archives to recreate that old school, traditional heavy metal sound, but Cage's version is of a virulent variety residing far to the right of the rpm redline – though they do slow things down to a mid-tempo from time to time, affording the listener to reminisce about what made heavy metal in its most undiluted of forms so enjoyable.
With their beginnings rooted all the way back to 1992, the band has spent much of their formative years as fish out of water, holding true to their love for heavy metal despite the then current reign of grunge, later followed by industrial and the unforgivable nu-metal, to finally seeing a bit of just due with 2003's Darker Than Black. That album found the band completely solidifying their sound, and now with Science of Annihilation, they continue to dwell in their chosen milieu.
For those not familiar with these mad lab technicians, Primal Fear would be a solid reference point, not only for Sean Peck's similarly soaring vocals to the renowned Ralf Sheepers, but also for the musical constructs; though with Cage, speed tends to prioritize itself more than most bands found within the genre. That's certainly the case here, as only a couple of tracks are rooted in an intermediate velocity, including the best track on the disc, "Stranger in Black". "Spirit of Vengeance" and the closing "trilogy" find things slowed down a bit as well (relatively speaking!), but as for the rest, it's a slam bang, "strap your boots on" attack, and this bears itself out in the fact that the fifty-five minute length of the album screams by. The only complaint to be levied against this outing is the overall production; everything sounding muffled and murky, as if it was recorded under a wet blanket, but don't let that get in the way of enjoying the surefire compositions. Also, some may be turned off by the sameyness that runs throughout, but there is plenty of variation in the riffs despite the non-stop canter of the affair.
Cage have now found themselves in a somewhat enviable position, as the last couple of years have seen a huge resurgence in popularity of young acts going for that traditional heavy metal sound, and these guys are now veterans at the game; if only they could find themselves a reputable label to give them deserved support, they could be sitting atop the heap. Nevertheless, for the discerning and savvy metalhead, Cage should now become a point of reference within the canon of heavy metal.
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