HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Painmuseum - Metal For Life
(C.M.M. Entertainment)

Painmuseum is the long-delayed now-realized band led by Halford guitarist Metal Mike Chlasciak, also including Tim Clayborne on near death/thrash vocals and percussion genius/journeyman Bobby Jarzombek to create the recording circle (presumably they have a bassist now for live shows). What they've come up with is a highly aggressive headbanging bit of near thrash, somewhere between Painkiller, Resurrection, and Jugulator, with a bit of Nevermore, Metal Church, Accept, Cage and Iced Earth thrown in for un-nameable general metal appeal. In other words, this is pummeling, heads-down fast-chugging metal and potatoes metal, with surprisingly growly vocals, slicing production values, and relentless jackhammering guitar riffs. Jarzombek propels the band to interesting and welcome progressive convolution here and there, but the focus is kept on mechanical quick-riffing of a thrashy, thankfully past-power metal nature. Highlight is the most commercial track on it, 'Bloody Wings' grooving to a memorable chorus with harmony vocals.
Rating 8

Single Bullet Theory - Behind Eyes Of Hatred
(Crash Music)

Not since St. Anger have I heard such a controversial drum sound, and again it's snare, with the rest of this album's unremarkable production not helping the cause either, clacky bass being of particular ear-yank. On the performance end, if one can get past the crap sound (and I can't), what you get is textbook New Wave Of American Heavy Metal, admirable ear to the street, measured use of Swedish melodic death, more than the usual amount of crazy transitions (check out 'Retribution' - man!), clean vocals and death growls. You've heard it all before and this band does it moderately well, their achievement point being a high degree of creativity, a sort of proggy System- or Tool-like dreaminess. But it's a crowded field, and rarely does one hear production this bad. In essence, it's the equivalent of a fall during Olympic gymnastics or figure skating - a big error that wipes out the good memories and the potential high scores of the rest of the routine. Quite the slip, especially given that the band's Route 666 debut was both sonically better and tighter in execution, not to mention less second-guessing of trend, as there wasn't one yet.
Rating 5.5

Hard Reviews Page 4