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Review: Eliminator - Breaking the Wheel
Breaking the Wheel

Label: Blood Harvest
Year released: 2008
Duration: 34:53
Tracks: 7
Genre: Thrash Metal


Review online: February 16, 2009
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
How do you rate this release?

Rated 3.92/5 (78.46%) (26 Votes)

Debut album for these New Jersey thrashers.  It's available in vinyl format (reviewed here) and CD (on Suffering Jesus Productions and Ukrach Productions.)  I've always liked the comic book/caricatural style of cover art which was almost the norm with 80s Thrash releases, so I just had to buy the vinyl edition to get this sucker in full size (and thank you, Blood Harvest, for including the lyrics - a regular omission with many LPs for some reason that I cannot fathom.)

Breaking the Wheel is, simply put, "furious" Thrash.  The track listing alone is a good indication that these guys aren't singing about pretty flowers, and this translates into the music as well.  The vocals are similar to some extent to Black Metal rasps, but mixed with a style not unlike mid-80s Kreator and Sodom.  The style is raw, vicious-sounding and one could say that the vocalist spits hate right in your face.  Musically, I guess you could say this is the aural equivalent of being ass-raped by a tank.  Save for a few quite passages, this is an all-out assault of high-speed guitar shredding (more on that later) and insane (but somewhat annoying) drumming.  Just like in their demo, I have a problem with the drums here (or is that a drum machine... I thought it was, but from the credits, apparently somebody is playing them... Anyway...)  The slowest parts are just fine, but when they kick into high-speed it's just an annoying clickety, and very thin-sounding - in other words, at some point it sounds more like a sonic anomaly than drums, and at times they practically get lost in the mix.  You sort of get used to it, but this could be so much better if the job had been done better in that area.

Where Breaking the Wheel really shines is in the guitar work.  Boy can that guy shred or what.  I found myself focusing on that and almost forgetting about the drums issue.  High-speed riffage that needs no lyrics to spell hate and destruction, and hyperspeed solos that would give a supersonic jet a run for its money - I swear a couple of solos on here practically lift me up my seat every time (kind of annoying when you're driving, however. :))  Things do get out of control on occasion, at which point the guitar feels like random pling-pling-pling shredding rather than part of an actual song.  Thankfully there isn't too much of that, but it does "break the mood" when it happens, although when things get back on track you forget about it right way and can try to follow by resuming air guitaring... ;)  Oftentimes, guitarists choose Progressive Metal (snooooooze) to show off their guitar skills, and it's nice to see one pick one of the rawer and most pure and basic forms of metal to showcase his talent instead.

Breaking the Wheel has had some lukewarm reception in some circles (for a variety of reasons, some having nothing to do with the music), but I found that it takes a good number of listens to really start to appreciate it, and to manage to "phase out" the weaker parts that harm the overall quality of the album - nothing that cannot be fixed, and hopefully something that the band will address in a future release.  In the meantime, if you're looking for some vicious shredding in your Thrash, it's worth checking these guys out.

More about Eliminator...
Review: Eliminator (Demo) (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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