For Whom The Gods Would Destroy
Review by Joshua on March 19, 2005.
The combination of retro thrash, classical British style metal, and Gothenburg-style death is becoming increasingly popular these days, with near-coetaneous releases from Herod, Into Eternity and Trivium. Herod, in places, comes very close to the classic thrash sound that permeated metal in the late 1980s and are the closest of the three to a classic metal sound. They’re anachronistic, perhaps, but the effect is remarkable: this album really grows on the listener because Herod, like the thrash metal giants of yore, took time to write interesting songs, whose strong parts etch themselves into the listener’s head. So far, so good. However, this album’s nothing perfect.
The incorporation of Gothenburg-style death metal is nothing new, but their brand of thrash metal sounds a bit familiar, too. Remember Armored Saint? Opened for Metallica in 1991? Hey, these guys do too. They pay great homage to Armored Saint at every opportunity; parts of some songs sound stripped and sampled from Armored Saint’s late material. Fortunately, Herod have a more polished sound than most eighties metal ever dreamed, with impressive segments in every single song. In fact, Herod have an amazing amount of musical talent that shines through where such forgotten thrash metal openers fell apart; the guitars on “A New Hope”, “The End”, and “When your Body Falls” are great examples. Well, therein lies the rub: every song contains impressive segments, but many of them sound contrived, and individual songs are often inconsistent. I’m not sure what comprises their songwriting process, but there’s at least one part of every song where I think “quit showing off.” Such egotistical soloing should’ve died with Yngwie Malmsteen’s career.
The best way to describe each song is a sum of cohesive parts, all arranged haphazardly. This serves to keep the album interesting, but makes for songs that are appreciable only in parts — and hard to follow, overall. Musicians might love the technical finesse and sharp transitions, but they don’t always make sense… and that inconsistent, piecemeal feeling I get from many songs probably will annoy some listeners. Thus their style is excellent, their talent impressive, and parts of this are memorable, but I can say no more than “promising” about their overall composition.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 6.5 out of 10