Company: Mighty Music Release: 2014 Genre: traditional Reviewer: Greg Watson
As beautiful as it is aggressive
It's very rare these days that you find bands that aren't following some trend or trying to emulate the latest band to "hit it big" with their sound. Denmark's Chainfist is one of those exceptions. Wielding a sound that is as beautiful as it is aggressive, the band's latest offering, 'Scarred', proves that Chainfist are out to make their own style of metal, trends be damned. One of the things that sets the band apart is vocalist Jackie Petersen's varying vocal styles. He's able to transition from very clean, harmonic vocals to more aggressive vocals seamlessly. Vocally, he allows the listener to feel whatever emotion he's trying to convey through the lyrics. To give you a better example, think of Mike Patton of Faith No More with a bit of James Hetfield mixed in. "Know Your Hate", "Black Rebel Noise (Acoustic)" and "Seven Minutes of Pain" are all great examples of Petersen's vocal variances and abilities.
Another element that sets Chainfist apart from the masses is their focus on the actual songs and the musicality. So many bands focus all of their efforts on one specific aspect or another and the ignored elements results in album mediocrity. Chainfist focus equally on the songwriting and the accompanying music for each song to make sure they're crafting a tune that is both quality and catchy. This ability really allows you to get into the song as well as have a little piece of it stamped into your head after hearing it just once.
A perfect example of this duality is the track "10,000". After one listen, I was walking around humming the riff and singing the chorus over and over. This track is an incredible mix of current Testament with a bit of Metallica. It is THE thrack that gives listeners the best idea of what Chainfist are all about. Tracks like "Know Your Hate", "Poison Moon" and "Another Day in Hell" stand out on their own but also help diversity the album. The fact that each song is different from the previous one just keeps you from becoming overly complacent and bored with the album, yet cohesively the album attacks with an overly heavy delivery throughout. You don't know what's going to hit you next and it's something that is really refreshing compared to some of the cookie cutter albums that are out there--nine or ten tracks of the same riff just rehashed with different vocals.
Guitarists Michael Kopietz and Thomas Hvisel (lead) are a duo that people should keep their eyes on in the future. Possessing riff abilities akin to Kerry King and the late Jeff Hanneman, these two know how to churn out addictively groovy riffs that never sacrifice the aggression. The lead intro to "Poison Moon" is hands down my favorite solo of any length that Hvisel lays down. It's fast, melodic and pure shredding. This tandem will have riffs burnt into your brain for days on end.
Chainfist have provided metal fans one of the most riff heavy albums of the year. And the cherry on top is the fact that Jacob Hansen mixed and mastered, enhancing it with incredible sound and clarity. I haven't been this excited about a relatively unknown band/album since I stumbled across Xanthochroid about two years ago. Whether you are a thrash titan, a metal maestro or just a lover of all things heavy, Chainfist has the fix you need.
About this Writer: Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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