|Review: Shock Troopers - Blades and Rods|
|Blades and Rods|
Label: Punishment 18 Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Thrash Metal
Review online: December 12, 2010
Reviewed by: Lior "Steinmetal" Stein
for:Blades and Rods
In contrast to other metal genres that have had an old school revival, I haven't come across too many Crossover bands. With its close relationship to Thrash, it can be hard to recognize Crossover bands, but if you listen closely you'll hear the Hardcore/Punk energy that exists within the riffs and beats. Shock Troopers are shooting to become the Italian version of Suicidal Tendencies, S.O.D., Agnostic Front, Wermacht or D.R.I. Along with the rise of old school Thrash in Italy over the last couple of years, Crossover is due to experience a resurgence as well.
Released through their local label, Punishment 18 Records, Shock Troopers' second album is entitled Blades and Rods. Let me state plainly that these guys didn't exactly go out of their way to be creative. Most of this release, which is full of nonsense lyrics about social problems and drunkenness, has a knack of being repetitive. Honestly, how much can you repeat yourself while writing songs? I don't believe that the affiliation with Punk or Hardcore will shed any light on this because neither of those two genres is necessarily simple. In the case of Shock Troopers, almost every song sounds like the one before. They are even structured alike, with many finishing with a fast solo in the dying moments of the song. Dudes, what happened to the peak moments of metal songs? And don't tell me those aren't metal songs.
Nevertheless, Shock Troopers don't fall far from U.S. Crossover bands. Blades and Rods has some cool tunes that merge the fast pace of Punk and Hardcore with Thrash Metal, like gang-style backing vocals and speedy solos that create an air of havoc. All throughout the album, these guys attack the listener with a full scale of solo runs like bombers carpeting a small, miserable town. There are some humorous intros as well, like the one on "Metal Slug," which starts like some sort of midi track but rapidly intensifies into a blowing metal machine. Every thrasher will appreciate "Road Thrash" and how S.O.D. can you get with "Take Your Eyes off Me?" "Blades and Rods" better watch for the police and the gang world of "Protection Money." As for the sound, if you want rawness, you got it. The production could have been better as there are issues with the mixing and mastering but you can live with those.
Blades and Rods isn't slightly close to being original; however, it still has its fun moments.
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