Perzonal War - Faces 2004 AFM Music reviewed by: EC
1. Devil In My Neck 2. Burning Symbols 3. My Secret 4. Divergent 5. From Within Through Time 6. Into The Fire 7. All I Gave 8. Tears 9. The Essential 10. Faces 11. Signs Of Chaos 12. Just Some Pain 13. The Sleeper (Bonus) 14. What We Call Progressive (Bonus)
Being only twenty eight years of age, it has been difficult to find a lot of bands to grow with. The old timers have had plenty of time to mature and age with bands like Dio, Priest, Maiden, and Sabbath, but for us youngsters, well it has been a difficult chore since we probably didn't spend our early days with those "classic" groups. Really the first images I can remember of metal were simply the hair metal days. I was one of those country boys who was a bit weary to put on Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath. I could crank Winger and Bon Jovi all day long, but anything beyond that was a little too sadistic for me. Then I grew up, discovered the internet, and quickly caught on to the wide world of heavy metal beyond the Top 40.
It has been really enjoyable to grow with Perzonal War. I remember picking up their first record, "The Inside" (when they were called Personal War). I thought it was pure genius and a perfect replacement for Metallica. Their next album was just as entertaining, "New Time Chaos". At that time they were one of the front runners for the throne of German Thrash King, along with other newcomers like Warhead and Delirious. The group signed with AFM Records, changed their name (the S to a Z) and released "Different But The Same", which was exactly what the album title described. Now these German thrashers release their newest record, "Faces", an all important fourth record of the band's career and one that will surely help shape their career in a positive or negative way, depending on how well it is received by the kiddies.
I knew the suit and tie guys would change these guys, so let's start with the cosmetics. Just like their biggest influence, the San Fran artists formerly known as Metallica, Perzonal War have decided to cut their hair and wear sports jackets. Interesting considering the previous three records showed the band in full metal mode, complete with metal tees and long hair. Those days are gone, with the band either bald or with a nice boy-toy cut. The metal tees are replaced with hoodies or jackets. Beyond the fashion attire comes a new web site, with some spruced up "modern" trimmings and what seems to be a total neglect of what these guys once were. Thankfully the group have still managed to keep most of their sound intact. Some of Metallica's St. Anger record has popped up, along with some down tuned stomp riffs that seem to be more evident than before. These guys have also incorporated a lot of Pantera styled riffs in here, with most of the early stuff keeping a Teutonic groove throughout, which I really enjoyed.
Cuts like "Just Some Pain", "Into The Fire", and "All I Gave" seem to keep most of the original 'War sound intact. The biggest changes come with songs like "My Secret", which is total fluffy pop metal if I've ever heard it. This material sounds like something Pyogenesis tried post-"Sweet X-Rated Nothings", bordering on sub-pop at times. The unpleasant changes continue on the wimpy ballad "Tears", the Godsmack styled title track, and the stomp riff overdose on "Divergent". Favorite cuts for me were "Devil In My Neck", "Burning Symbols", and "Just Some Pain". The band continue their Annihilator meets Metallica thought pattern, but unfortunately have allowed some outside parties to influence their style, thus we have some weaker cuts that are complete strangers to the band's core sound.
If you like what Kreator and Shadows Fall are doing these days, then this is probably right up your alley. I would really like to hear these guys get some radio play, with this stuff getting closer to metal's roots than pop metal bands like Lamb Of God and Mastodon. I think if any underground bands have a chance at making it big, then this is the band to do it. Their material will turn away the die-hards, and at this point may even turn away the band's core audience, but on the plus side they could get a huge following. If "Faces" gets the right push, then Perzonal War could be the next Godsmack.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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