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Review: Slave Zero - The Pain Remits
Slave Zero
The Pain Remits

Label: Independent
Year released: 2006
Duration: 25:19
Tracks: 5
Genre: Thrash Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: July 4, 2006
Reviewed by: Chaossphere
Readers Rating
The Pain Remits

Rated 3/5 (60%) (3 Votes)

First things first: this is easily one of the most professional self-released CDs I've ever seen. In fact, there's absolutely nothing to make it obvious that it's self released aside from the lack of label info on the layout. It's a pro-pressed CD with very polished artwork, and the production is top notch. Either these guys worked their arses off to finance this thing, or someone's dad runs a studio and/or graphic design company ;) The only complaint here is that the lyrics are reproduced in a handwritten scribble in the same manner as several of Pantera's lyric sheets, which is something I've always hated. It just looks messy and detracts from the professional feel of the rest of the artwork.

As for the music – Slave Zero plays a fairly modern form of midpaced, slightly groovy thrash. Basically imagine the last two Kreator albums played at a slower pace with more emphasis on downtuned riffs and less on melodic "Gothenburg"-style leads, and a fairly prominent Pantera influence in the rhythm department, particularly the heavily distorted yet prominent bass. The musicianship is incredibly tight, especially from the guitarists who display a great level of skill, in particular when it comes to lead work. This is one area where this band excels and belies their obvious influences, shredding away like it's 1990 all over again, but never at the expense of melody and context. There's the occasional moment which edges towards metalcore, but they never stumble across that line, which is quite a relief.

The one thing here which sticks out like a sore thumb is the vocals. I've never really been able to make myself enjoy this form of pained hardcore-ish bellowing no matter how hard I try. Some sections utilize a much more listenable combination of harsh vocal styles – a good balance between a midrange rasp and a guttural growl – which suit the music much better than the "angry tough guy" approach. Unfortunately the prevalence of that style prevents me from getting into this disc as much as I should, which is a damn shame because the music is quite excellent, surprisingly since the very modern feel would normally put me off. Then again, this vocal quibble is merely my personal preference, so listeners who don't mind the aforementioned approach can proceed without caution.

Slave Zero have done a great job of combining "neo-thrash" with the real deal, and this blows away Slayer and Megadeth's recent output by a long shot. I'm really not sure why this band is still unsigned, but if they keep this up, I doubt that will be the case for much longer.

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