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Review: K.O.B. - Strafe The Underdogs
Strafe The Underdogs

Label: Anvil Corp.
Year released: 2004
Duration: 47:28
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: August 18, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Strafe The Underdogs

Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (4 Votes)

KOB is a band I have rarely seen discussed in metal circles and that is a real shame. "Strafe The Underdogs" is the second release by these French heavy metallers and the first thing that struck me is that they pumped up the adrenalin since the (excellent) first album "Mekanism of Time". While the first album was relatively tame at times, here we have a almost non -stop onslaught of fist-pumping, headbanging-inducing metal - think of a mix of 80's Maiden and Priest but with a slightly more raw yet modern sound (but thankfully not overpolished, contrary to a disturbing trend as of late) and a writing style that's quite different. Said otherwise, the influences are clearly audible but the band has its unique sound, which sadly is a rarity nowadays unless bands start throwing in all kinds of weird instruments; but I digress. The Maiden/Priest influences are not limited to the music, as the singer sounds like a mix of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford for an interesting result that I must say might require some getting used to (but well worth the effort on the part of the listener.) The singer sings very high at times and I found that a bit annoying on the first couple of listens, but with time I found myself looking forward to these particular parts. This album is part "instant click" and part grower, although it doesn't take 20 listens to "get it" either. This is a great listen from start to finish with no boring parts whatsoever (to my ears anyway. :))

I usually don't like when an album ends with a ballad, but "Bleeding Soul" has reconciled me with the concept - a great ballad that's not overly cheesy or anything - just a plain good song. That songs allow showcases the ability of the singer to handle softer vocal duties (compared to the rest of the album which revolves around high pitched, energetic vocal work.) Overall this is a notable improvement over their great debut album that also shows that the band is quite versatile. I gave "Mekanism of Time" a perfect score, maybe I was a bit over-enthusiastic back then, but this time even though this is a better album I'm giving it a slightly lower rating to give them room to grow. :) Hey I never claimed one should compare the ratings I give from one album to the next.

France has been known as a hotbed for Black Metal in recent years, but with bands like KOB they might well start reclaiming their space in the more traditional parts of the metal realm. So far this is one of my top 5 albums of 2004. Let me put this in simple terms: This fucking rules.

Other related information on the site
Review: Mekanism of Time (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Interview with Stéphane Graziani (vocals) on September 8, 2003 (Interviewed by Michel Renaud)
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