Saturday, 9 July 2011

Action Replay - Burning In Ice Review

Action Replay
Burning In Ice
Hellfire Productions

From 2002 – 2006 ‘Swedish Melodic Death Metal’ were words I frequently typed whilst writing for a previous publication. Judging by “Burning In Ice” title track it would appear Brummies Action Replay have been influenced by said genre and whilst I remain a big fan of bands such as Gothenburg’s In Flames it takes something extra special for new acts plying this sound to turn my head these days. Aimee Flower’s powerful, crystal clear; vocals on this track certainly help Action Replay to stand out from the legions of bands fronted by males of Viking stock. Musically there’s an extremely tasteful solo around the one minute fifty mark from guitarist Matt Draycott, although the ‘breakdown’ which precedes it does sound contrived and somewhat redundant.

Track two “Darkest Days” starts off with some quiet Tool-esque introspection but largely reminds me of ‘German Thrash Metal’ gods Kreator at their least thrashing, circa Endorama, when frankly they couldn’t get arrested over here. Me, I’m quite partial to the darker/slower sound they introduced at the time. Again Flower’s vocals are a million miles away from Mille Petrozza’s harsh tones, although I personally find them a little two polished.

Third track, “Caught Between Us”, allows me to continue our geographical genre lesson, harking back to the early nineties when San Franciscan ‘Bay Area Thrashers’ such as Metallica and Testament started penning ballads. The guitar work here evokes memories of Testament guitarist and sometime Rodrigo Y Gabriela collaborator Alex Skolnick. Skolnick remains an exceptional guitarist whose return to Testament instantly boosted them in the live arena, so when I compare Draycott to him believe me that is a compliment.

“Cut You Down” closes proceedings on an upbeat note. For me it’s the only track where the band sufficiently escapes the shadow of their influences and tries to forge their own identity. Ultimately “Burning In Ice” is a release I would have praised a decade ago, but Action Replay (Apt name given that they seem to be offering condensed highlights of various metal genres at their most commercial) have probably missed the boat, with Italian’s Lacuna Coil having long since taken this kind of female fronted metal to the masses. If you want to hear a British version of them though then this could be for you.

Andrew Whittaker

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review Andrew, read with interest! We've never listened to Swedish Melodic Death Metal (didn't even know there was such a genre!) but interesting to hear your take on the EP!

    Much appreciated, we'll share on Facebook and try to reach those Lacuna Coil fans!

    Cheers :-)

    Action Replay