|Review: Name In Vain - Persecuted|
Year released: 2010
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: October 14, 2010
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
There is a very thin line between good music and horrendously ass-felching tuff-guy shit that isn't even worth listening to by the worst fratboy types...and this album straddles that line pretty well. And I mean honestly. The first couple of songs on here, and especially "Seething Red" and "Darkness Shines," are FILLED TO THE BRIM with some of the worst pseudo-tough-guy hardcore vocals I've heard in a while. When you hear the borderline-rapping introduction to "Seething Red," your balls will shrivel up, and when the awful, awful "Fight! Fight! Fight!" chanting starts up in "Darkness Shines," you will lose your lunch to boot. Puerile. If you turned the album off after that, well...I won't hold it against you.
And it's pretty sad, since it's not like this band is untalented or anything. They can still write some alright songs...well, you know, in the realm of groovy work-out music. It definitely won't hold much appeal for some people, but some of these songs are pretty decently written, and the band has a good sense of rhythm and solid musicianship. It's only around song four, "Tic Toc," that we get some vocals that are not completely ridiculous and wannabe-tough-guy-esque, and thus are able to enjoy the song that much more. The riffing is decent enough, still having enough of the Sabbathine touch to remain enjoyable for me, and the production is pretty good as well, although perhaps a little too modern at times – could use a little more grit to it, a little more of a rootsy sound...
At their best, Name in Vain recalls 90s and 2000s Metallica if they wrote shorter and more manageable songs, which is OK in my books. These guys make up for their lack of finesse and innovation with a heaping helping of attitude. "Back Down" rocks the fuck out, "Hail Mary" chugs like no tomorrow and "Inner Sin," while being the most radio friendly track on display, is a good song anyway, with a clean guitar lead-in and some pretty well done vocals over a surprisingly fluid musical base. Good stuff. This album drags on a little long, but then, this kind of groove metal stuff tends to feel that way a lot of the time, so it's really nothing surprising.
Really, a lot of the reason this doesn't work comes down to the vocals. Sometimes you get some decent vocal lines, but a lot of them are just trying too hard. Singer Matt Pelosi has a solid enough voice, but what he's singing is just not always that good. This is a decent album of groovy heavy metal that is let down by some very unfortunate modernized parts that really drag the score down - and the fact that those are the most memorable bits of the album don't help, either.
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