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Review: Criminal Element - Guilty As Charged
Criminal Element
Guilty As Charged

Label: Sevared Records
Year released: 2008
Duration: 36:57
Tracks: 12
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: December 6, 2008
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Guilty As Charged

Rated 3.38/5 (67.5%) (8 Votes)

Now this is cool.  Criminal Element is a Death Metal band that flirts with Death/Thrash - some musical passages definitely borrow more from Thrash, and most of the vocals could be categorized as being the style used by some of the most extreme Thrash bands - very harsh and aggressive style.  There are some growls used here, but not much.  From band name, to album name to song names, it's pretty obvious that the lyrical content here is all based around crime.  What makes Guilty As Charged interesting is how it marries both a raw and a more polished style.  At times this sounds very raw, kind of garage-like Death Metal, and at other times it sounds like a very fine-tuned machine - some passages strongly reminded me of Deathrace King-era The Crown: speedy, tight, brutal and just raw enough.  If I were them I'd have left out the guttural vocals that can be heard on a couple of occasions, since the more thrashy style fits the music better - but that doesn't really affect the album in a negative way either.

Criminal Element's Death Metal is mostly old school-sounding, with a few hints of more modern touches.  Mostly mid-paced and never breaking into insane speeds, this makes the music more catchy, headbangable and memorable to some extent.  The limited edition includes a cover of Exciter's "Pounding Metal" and Carnivore's "Angry Neurotic Catholic", both nicely done with a little hint of Criminal Element's style added, without diverting too much from the originals.  Guilty As Charged gets better with every listen.

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