By Niki D’Andrea
Local bands who’ve complained that we’re not reviewing their CDs, take this challenge. I have vowed to review every local CD addressed to me (and marked “YAFI”) in the order it’s received. I’m still getting more gripes than CDs, however, so if you’re upset, please put your music where your mouth is and send it to me. I will be honest about my impressions of your music, for better (last week’s Underwater Getdown CD) or worse (this week’s Reign of Vengeance CD).
One of the greatest gripers in Phoenix has been metal singer Marshall Beck, a tack that’s gotten him quite a bit of coverage from us in the past (seriously, check our archives, because I don’t want to copy and paste 20 links here). Beck fronts the unimpressive metal band Rebirth, and also “sings” for another local metal band called Reign of Vengeance. I recently received the following MySpace missive from Marshall Beck:
“I would like to know why you haven't published anything on Reign of Vengeance when I took the time and money to send you a cd? Reign of Vengeance features guys from Vehemence, Dying Fetus, Eroticide, Rebirth, and Abigail Williams. If ever there was an all star line up death metal band to come from Arizona Reign of Vengeance would be it. Duane Timlin who is considered one of the top 3 fastest and best death metal drummers in the world plays and who has toured it 6 times over is in that band along with me, Mark Kozuback (Vehemence), and Steve Jasisnski (Eroticide).”
Marshall Beck's latest "masterpiece."
There was some other stuff in Beck’s message (more threats, more allusions to his illusions that he’s a god of metal in Arizona), but what I pasted above is the important part. Before I get to the CD review, let me just say that Vehemence, Dying Fetus, Abigail Williams, and -- to a much lesser extent -- Eroticide, are all good metal bands. Each one of those groups is ten times better than Rebirth or Reign of Vengeance, even if the latter band does contain former members of those groups.
Okay, here goes…
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Reign of Vengeance Revenge By Bloodshed (Synister Empire Records)
The best part of this CD is the “dramatic” scene at the beginning, “Act II: Caught in the Act,” where we hear a guy barge in on his girl loudly screwing some other dude. The girl’s screams of nasty ecstasy sound better than anything else on this album.
The rest of the album is full of generic metal riffs that have been recycled so many times that it’s impossible to peg from whom they were originally copped (it all comes down to the same down-tuned power chords, anyway); growling and screeching (and processed) vocals; double-bass drumming; and lyrics about love, betrayal, and murder. (This is actually a crapsicle concept record, about a guy who comes home to find his girl getting it on with some other dude, and then subsequently stalks and kills his cheating woman. Brilliant! Who’da thunk it?)
Normally, I’d indicate what “standout” tracks to listen for on an album, but honestly, all of these songs sound the same to me. If this was 1988 and Pantera, Sepultura, and Obituary never existed, Reign of Vengeance would be the shit. But back here on Planet Reality, it’s all been done to death before, and RoV doesn’t have the power and prowess to kick the carcass back to life.