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Tyrant: The Lowest Level

The fairly diverse hodgepodge of thrash/speed/traditional metal that is Tyrant's new album The Lowest Level definitely threw me for a loop upon first listen. The band seems to refer to themselves as a thrash metal band, although definitely more in the melodic/dynamic traditions of the old Bay Area bands that blew up in the 80's rather than the noisy and extreme European counterparts. There's some little twists and turns that the band takes throughout The Lowest Level that certainly pokes a few holes in their bullet belted thrash exterior, however.

There's plenty of influence from the "Big 4" of thrash on this release. The riffs aren't the most memorable of the genre, but there's plenty of roughed up nwobhm riffs ala Kill 'Em All, as well as some stompy, chugging riffs more reminiscent of Anthrax. Singer (and guitarist) Philip Winters' vocals are 100% 80's James Hetfield worship, but less tuneful. There's more than a few moments on the album that will force a wince out of you as he attempts to screech a note that's a tone or two out of reach out of his bowels. Kudos for the the effort, but holy moly. Vocals aside, the individual instruments all sound good and are competently played. The moments that will make you sit up and take notice are when Tyrant decides to inject their songs with touches of nwobhm or early american power metal. It's not all over the place, but on songs like "The Persuader" and "Pray for the Night" there's a mojo that just doesn't appear on most of the other tracks. It's like the guys discovered Motorhead and Metal Church right before they wrote those two. I'm not complaining.

The Lowest Level has a pretty dark and brooding vibe throughout, and that's a big win, but overall it's more of a curiosity and a forgettable one at that. There's moments that I mentioned earlier, but too many riffs run together without particularly great performances or hooks to keep you coming back. Not bad by any means, and these guys clearly have some chops and ideas that they can build on, but as it stands this album is largely just "there". Check out the songs mentioned above, and if you really dig those, maybe give the rest a shot.

1. Worldstone
2. Pray for the Night
3. The Sun, the Moon and the Truth
4. Sins of the Many
5. The Persuader
6. I, Master
7. Kingslayer
8. Of Ash
9. Call of the Void

Added: March 3rd 2023
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 621
Language: english

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