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Review: Twisted Tower Dire - Netherworlds
Twisted Tower Dire

Label: Remedy Records
Year released: 2007
Duration: 45:45
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: February 28, 2007
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
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Rated 3.84/5 (76.8%) (25 Votes)

At last, at last. After four years of promises, delays, waiting, and more delays, we finally have a new album from the awesome Twisted Tower Dire, one of my very favorite metal bands. They may never equal the classic Isle Of Hydra, but Crest Of The Martyrs came pretty fracking close. I was hoping they'd pull off another killer, classic album with this one.

Well, Netherworlds is good, very good in places, but it just is not quite as cool as the last 2 albums. Apparently the internal strife which led to Tony Taylor's sudden departure has been brewing for a while, because the songwriting here is a bit uneven. "Starshine" starts things out in fine fashion, classic riffs, great melodies, strong vocals – all the stuff that makes this band great. And there are other great tunes on here: the killer "Fortress", "Killing Kind", the title track, and the excellent headbanger "Tales Of Submission".

But there are some inexplicable low points on the album, and after careful listening, I have to conclude that the fault for these must be laid on Tony. "Dire Wolf" has music as strong as any of the other songs, but the vocal lines are terrible. "Casualty Of Cruel Times" and "No One Left To Blame" are not bad, but again the vocal melodies lack. "Firebird" is a decent closer, but it can in no way measure up to "The Reflecting Pool" from Crest Of The Martyrs. Taylor seems to have become enchanted with the annoying quarter-tones and Dorian-scale stylings that some singers get fascinated with because they make the songs more challenging to sing, but they do not go with TTDs go-for-the-throat riff style at all. Also, the production on the vocals is pretty poor. The rest of the band sounds great, with a fat, punchy guitar tone. But the vocals are weak, and the backing vocals are terrible, often being out of tune with each other. The band clearly could have used Piet Sielck's sure hand at the mixing board for those.

Netherworlds is still a very strong album, with some fine doses of TTD's signature magic, but it suffers by comparison to its predecessors, which are admittedly some of metal's finest works by any scale. This album had a tough row to hoe, and it manages pretty well. But overall this is not as good as their last 2 efforts, and I have to say I think Tony Taylor's vocals are the weak link here. I was disappointed to hear he had left the band, but upon hearing his work here, I think maybe it was a good move for everyone involved. Fans should not miss this one, newcomers should start with Isle Of Hydra, which is clearly their best work, and may always be.

More about Twisted Tower Dire...
Review: Crest of the Martyrs (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Crest of the Martyrs Demos (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Crest of the Martyrs Demos (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Make it Dark (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Make it Dark (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Curse Of Twisted Tower (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Isle Of Hydra (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Wars in the Unknown (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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