1. Good & Evil 2. Complex Mind 3. The Unholy 4. Fallen Angel 5. Crucifixion 6. Cursed
I had previously read some really good reviews for this thrashy New York outfit. Being in the mood for a good shot of Bay Area mayhem, I decided to hit the band up with some correspondence. I received a package in the mail from the crew and was really impressed by the whole package that this band put together. From looking at their bio, promo sheets, photos, and business card I can tell that this band is very professional, normally a fine indication of good music. This is probably the best "business package" I have received from a band. From the first glance at their 2004 release "Good & Evil", I realized that this simply isn't a garage band at home burning CDRs. No folks, Python is the real deal. Aside from the silly band name (I have to bust your chops for something!), this band brings back that chaotic and raw sound of the mid 80s, focusing all energy and effort to capture the magic of the San Francisco bay area sound, and from repeated spins of this release, I can see that the genre's future is in safe hands.
Python just drive home one basic fundamental, that being to simply execute old school thrash. "Good & Evil" is the perfect representation of a good thrash record. The group use heavy, speedy guitar riffs backed by the angry and sadistic vocals of rhythm guitarist Joe Holzapfel. The three piece is made complete with bassist Ken Decker and drummer Kurt Holzapfel. Even with this underground production job the band sound dominating and in complete control, mastering their domain in much the same fashion as early Metallica, Forbidden (not as technical), and Testament. I hear a good bit of slower Exodus and even some Panic thrown in as well. Previous reviews of the group mention similarities to early Iced Earth, but honestly I don't hear too much of that.
The opening title track storms forth in classic thrash style, with plenty of fast chops and Joe's aggressive vocals. At times his delivery is somewhat like spoken passages with the most wicked and sinister spin. Songwriting wise, this one fits the song's description, a very well written track that is influenced by biblical scripture. "Complex Mind" and "Fallen Angel" are in Flotsam & Jetsam style, with a strong melodic structure built into these. Joe's vocals here are probably his most vicious, with drummer Kurt really holding it all together with some rather fast hands. The songs have some very good breakdowns and some doomy riffs are mixed into "Complex Mind" as well. The Iced Earth vibe can be heard briefly at the beginning of "The Unholy" (similar to "Prime Evil") before breaking into a new wave styled riff. This is probably one of my favorite cuts of the album with a very catchy chorus part. "Crucifixion" reminds me of Testament's groove oriented approach, with Kurt's playing a bit loose here. The album's closer, "Cursed", is probably the most experimental of the group with plenty of timing changes and a technical structure about it.
Overall this is the quality goods, really hitting home with everything I love about 80s thrash metal. But those of you looking for modern sensations can still find plenty to like here. The band are very aggressive and showoff the ability to be diverse and adapt many different elements into their sound. You won't hear much of today's "new wave of American heavy metal", but at the same time the band stay consistently heavy and...well...in your face. This is a fine display of power and one that leaves you wanting more than just six songs. Hopefully Python can land a record deal soon!
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 contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. 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. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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