Thursday, October 23, 2014

Osmium Guillotine - Osmium Guillotine

Osmium Guillotine is NWOBHM worship. Riffs straight out of the early 80s - not via the 90s, but straight from the first couple Iron Maiden records with a few notes changed. There are hints of Saxon, Priest, Satan, and more NWOBHM too - this isn't amateur heavy metal worship, it's a well-honed imitation of that time in 1981-83 when Britain was overrun by amitious young bands who wanted to prove themselves to be the very best of this massive, successful wave of bands that were ripping off Iron Maiden.

At this point I trust that you get the idea that this isn't the most original band, but they're pretty good at times. There are some very energetic moments where the band hits their stride and kicks off a song hard with a good riff, like "D-Day" and "City of Chaos," but these catchy riffs are caught up in the overwhelming familiarity of it all. The vocalist is neither distinctive nor charismatic, but at least rehearsed enough to sing in the mid-range he middles in. A very middling release, as the band has some moments where they sound great, the performance and production are technically solid, but at every step they completely lack all of the tools needed to make it feel like something special.

This band is, in essence, a retro thrash band playing heavy metal. They have the riffs, the album is loaded with homages to great bands, and any 20 second clip without vocals would sound great as a 20 second clip. The problem is, the driving force behind this band is to emulate an era, a sound, a group of bands. "Into the Battle" borrows heavily from the second half of Powerslave, but it feels like the motivation isn't to tell an epic story like "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" but to make a song that has a riffs that has the same "epic" vibe as the song, while falling back on mediocre speed/thrash riffs with a mediocre vocalist over them.

This album simply doesn't have the charm, the magic of heavy metal that it emulates. It lacks character, identity, and the ability to conjure a mystique about a song. What successes it does have - some flashy and cool riffs - are diluted heavily by a lack of focus and vision in an aimless, wandering 55+ minute runtime.

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