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Znowhite:All Hail To Thee/Kick'em When They're Down/Live Suicide (remaster)

Mining deeper into the Roadrunner archive, Metal Mind has unearthed another lost 80's speed metal relic in the form of Chicago's Znowhite. Formed in 1982 by 3 brothers (figuratively and literally) and their manager turned singer Nicole Lee, the band pretty much stayed off of the musical radar save for an appearance on Metal Massacre III (Remember that one!) and 4 obscure releases. This Metal Mind release contains 3 of the 4 and they are: All Hail to Thee (84), Kick'em When They're Down (85) and Live Suicide (86).

Sonically, the songs encompass raging 16th note petal tone riffs, stellar vocals, excellent drumming and mostly average lyrical themes with a decidedly street-like appeal. On All Hail To Thee the songs whiz by in mostly furious fashion as about half of the songs go no further than 1:40 on the clock; a trend that continued to varying degrees throughout the studio efforts found on this compilation. "Bringing The Hammer Down" and "Sledgehammer" might be the best example of the bands capabilities with consistent double bass drumming, shredding guitar solos and supportive backing vocals. The beginning in the former song is especially noteworthy with the descending vocal harmonies that bring a rather King Diamond like feel to the song. You might be surprised by how good this sounds if you have never heard the band before. They are head and shoulders above some of the other unknowns that have seen a re-release. Moving on to Kick'em When They're Down, the band picks up right where the other left off, adding a little more complexity and dynamics to their sound. Kicking it off with "Living For The Weekend", the production does appear to be as good as before. The guitars don't have the same kind of razor-like attack as previously displayed, but it is by no means weak. The one thing that is interesting about this release is that they explore some Iron Maiden style guitar harmonies in the first voiceless section of "Run Like the Wind". Showing just a little more compositional growth, it's also one of their longer songs at 4:24. Another sign of some increasing maturity is" Turn Up The Pain" (another longer tune for the band). Trading some of the speed for finesse, the complexity factor was increasing; especially, in the area of the drums. For some reason, the guitar sound improves and recalls the first disc more closely (Recorded somewhere else, maybe?). It's not hard to see that a little more tweaking in their compositional skills, more consistent production values, and an avoidance of some of the overused metal clichés might have helped them out a little more in gaining a broader audience with this release. Finally, the live release: Live Suicide captures the band well with excellent club-like sound dynamics, competent playing, thoroughly embracing their "for the people" feel. It doesn't appear that this is a continuous show, but there are 3 new songs that don't appear on either of the other two releases, but they don't differ too much stylistically from the others. It seems they just were not growing fast enough, --in spite of their potential-- to catapult up to the next level. You are not given too many chances when there is a sea of competition all around you, waiting to take you down. Either way, still pretty entertaining stuff!

For anyone looking to explore the vaults, looking for the beginnings of an increasingly aggressive metal style, this is an extremely listenable and enjoyable experience.

Track Listing
1. Sledgehammer
2. Saturday Night
3. Somethin' for Nothin'
4. Bringin' the Hammer Down
5. Do Or Die
6. Never Felt Like This
7. Rock City Destination
8. Live For The Weekend
9. All Hail To Thee
10. Run Like the Wind
11. Too Late
12. Turn Up The Pain
13. Hellbent
14. Bringin' The Hammer Down
15. There's No Tomorrow
16. Too Late
17. Rock City Destination
18. Night On Parole
19. Rest In Peace

Added: November 9th 2007
Reviewer: Hugh Dark
Related Link: Band's My Space Page
Hits: 3630
Language: english

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