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Beyond Fear | review | metal | Lollipop

Beyond Fear

by Martin Popoff

Finally, Ripper gets to run his own ship. He's assembled a band close by rustbelt home, thereafter leading the charge by writing half of these songs himself (Ripper's a passable guitarist) and co-writing the other half with one of his two axemen, John Comprix. The sound is wholly unsurprising, but worthy and well-executed. Jugulator, Demolition, PainMuseum, Painkiller, jackhammering Bruce/Roy Z, early and late and not middle Machine Head, heavy Eidolon, heavy Iced Earth, and heavy Evergrey: Bolt that together with mechanistic, hard sheen production, and that's where this energetic, world-beating album goes. I prefer the earthier rock 'n' rollsy numbers such as "I Don't Need This," "My Last Words," and the highly catchy "Coming at You," and can do without the heavier-than-thou ones, especially when the lyrics get trite (the first one's about a metal monster). As expected, Ripper puts on a great vocal performance, playing with the arrangements a bit, and adding a few thespian moves; plus his voice seems to've changed a bit... with age? I wouldn't say it's mellowed, maybe "interestingly thinned"? Anyway, a cool first step, a measure of variety, but maybe just a bit too grimly clanking and double bass-barraged in total for my particular liking, which is the way I felt about Jugulator and Demolition.


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