One Man Army and The Undead Quartet
Grim Tales

No sooner did The Crown become history in 2003 than all those in mourning were soon relieved to know that the band’s vocalist Johan Lindstrand had decided to launch a new project. Dubbing the newborn band as One Man Army & The Undead Quartet, Lindstrand didn’t rack his brains about what kind of metal to play and instead just picked up where he left off with The Crown. Hence, the band’s debut 21st Century Killing Machine came about as a logical continuation of the groovy Death Thrash fusion that could be heard on albums such as Deathrace King, Crowned In Terror, and Possessed 13. The release was incredibly good and contained a lot of songs that I, for one consider to be at least on a par with anything ever presented by his previous band. A year later, appeared their sophomore album Error In Evolution, which along with a good deal of killer material, unfortunately also included some missteps in clean vocals and other uninspired digressions towards traditional Metal realms.

Thankfully, their newest offering Grim Tales throws us back to the uncompromising Death Thrash of the debut, combining a massive bulk of energy and melodies into a dark and venomous spell. Barely does the flirtatious interplay between the sweet plucked guitars and symphonic keyboards on opener “Black Clouds” die away when “Misfits With Machinegun” blasts it right into your skull. There is certainly no place for any kind of schmaltz here either, instead being replaced with tireless squalls of shredding and soloing from the guitar duo of Mikael Lagerblad and Mattias Bolander. Johan’s snarling roars, conjures up the visage of some frantic shaman casting predictions of Armageddon. Similarly, the drum and bass battery strikes with their well-measured congruence and force, hitting like a demolition ball to the fragile walls of your shattered metal psyche.

Being far from the type of metal that is supposed to produce a profound intellectual experience for the listener, Grim Tales is nothing else but an incurable case of chronic aggression injected right into your brains with the help of music. Some songs, like “Saint Lucifer”, “Cursed By The Knife” or “The Frisco Reaper” impress with their feverish, almost Death’n’Roll movements, while others, such as “Death Makes It All Go Away”, “Bonebreaker Propaganda” or “Make Them Die Slowly”, flow in mostly mid-tempo grooves yet are crashing enough to crumple you up with their overpowering leads. Although most of the material here may at first seem a bit simplistic from the standpoint of guitar work and song structures, a few more spins will reveal many hidden nuances in their music. Multiple rhythmic slides, diverse drumming and unexpected brief fiery solos add to this album’s character making it a very enjoyable listen at the end of the day.

Unlike its predecessor Error In Evolution, Grim Tales is an almost flawless upfront thrash spectacle of 10 extremely impactful “killers” (the intro doesn’t count), any of which can boast a sufficient supply of heavy addictive riffs, melodic solos, and the group’s joint vocal flashes serving as a good back-up to Lindstrand’s impressive teeth-grinding performance. If you don’t mind the absence of anything really groundbreaking, and you enjoyed the band’s splendid debut, I see no reason why you shouldn’t try this one either.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Igor Stakh
October 20th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: Staylow

    Cool review. I enjoyed the debut a good bit, but felt the tail end of the album was kind of lacking, or lost steam. The follow up was just not good at all. I’ll have to listen to this. One thing I know for sure though, they’ll never match the awesomeness that was The Crown.


  2. Commented by: swampthang

    i didn’t like this bands last album so prolly won’t be checking this out anytime soon. but damn the cover is freaking cool as hell.


  3. Commented by: DUDE

    This may end up being my Album Of The Year. It’s THAT good. Great review, Igor!!!


  4. Commented by: Maidendeth

    This albums pwns my face. Great review Igor


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