Extreme Cold Weather
Review by Felix on June 4, 2020.
It’s summertime and the climate change is real. Europe is facing another very dry period and one can say that this is not the best prerequisite to write a review for an album called Extreme Cold Weather. But I am the more or less proud owner of this work since 1987, I have listened to the output in cold times as well, many years before even the most sensitive environmentalist was in fear of a climate change - and I must say that the here presented material never fascinated me very much.
The main problem of the album is its heterogeneity. Already the second track with the fairground organ at the beginning destroys the more or less cold atmosphere of the opening title track. 'Mother Theresa' is a silent and useless guitar intermezzo that brings any kind of headbanging session to an end immediately. 'Radetzky March: We Hate to Be in the Army Now' with its extremely distorted vocals and the mad chorus seems to be a kind of grindcore parody, but it does not fit the context of the album. Not to mention the B side - it consists of excerpts of three different live gigs without creating a consistent overall impression. In addition, it suffers from mediocre sound qualities. Especially 'The Last Inferno' sounds like a mouldy demo tape and should have never been released on an official album. Aggravating the situation, there are more tracks that suffer from a rehearsal character.
The second problem is the fact that some parts are going nowhere, presenting speed for the sake of itself. 'Johannes Paul der Letzte' marks a good example. Despite a few strong lines, the song in its entirety fails to leave a coherent impression. Neither the single parts can convince, nor do they fit together very well. The excellent opening riff of 'Golden Dawn' makes a promise most sequences of the remaining song cannot keep. The aforementioned 'Radetzky March…' is also nothing else but a shot in the dark. Finally, it remains a mystery to me why a band that wants to be taken seriously calls a (good) song 'Olé Perversus' – and the live recycling of nearly the whole A side of the debut makes no sense, too.
Good aspects? Yes, there are some, for example the sinister, mid-paced title track where the band makes good use of atmospheric synthesizers or the pretty mature, dark and menacing instrumental 'Hyperborea'. These are the songs where early death / thrash metal reigns. Especially the instrumental shows many facets without falling victim to overly progressive patterns. Yet this is not enough to shape an album which deserves a high score. From my point of view, Messiah’s underground reputation was much bigger than their song-writing skills. Perhaps the albums of their second period, beginning with Choir of Horrors, showed the band in better form, but I decided to close the chapter “Messiah” after this album. Hopefully, this was not the moment when the climate change set in.
Rating: 5.6 out of 10333