Okay, first I have to start with a rant that I’m sure some of you have heard before, but this is my first experience with the annoyance, so please beg my pardon. If Nuclear Blast thinks splitting the promos into 99 tracks doesn’t hamper the review experience, they are full of crap. Every 20 to 30 seconds there’s a brief pause that renders the promo almost unlistenable. If they (Nuclear Blast) don’t think this practice could negatively impact reviews of their artists, well, they need to be rethinking it. End rant.
Anyway, my 99 track promo is of the newest platter from ONE MAN ARMY AND THE UNDEAD QUARTET, entitled “Error In Evolution”. And you know what, the title is fitting for this disc. ONE MAN ARMY play a rather simplistic form of Death Thrash, not unlike THE CROWN, the band founding member Johan Lindstrand used to call home. There’s really not much in the way of evolution from the first ONE MAN ARMY, or any of THE CROWN’s latter albums, unless you want to count the inclusion of a few modern elements (think KILLSWITCH ENGAGE) as evolution.
The songs are all straightforward, verse/chorus/verse/chorus/solo/chorus structured, and fun to thrash around to, but that’s about it. The air-guitar quotient isn’t bad, and the headbang levels are high, which is key for Death Thrash, but there’s nothing on “Error In Evolution” the average Metalhead hasn’t heard countless times before.
The occasional use of Hardcore-inspired clean vocals in the choruses also hurt the final product more than help it. Lindstrand should definitely stick to the Death vocals, as he does those so much better. However, credit must be given where it's due, as the clean vocals in "He's Back" and “Heaven Knows No Pain” are well executed and certainly better than the others found on the album. The almighty riff is employed in spades on “Error In Evolution”, but I honestly can’t think of a single one that stands out as classic, or made me throw the horns in the air and belt out “hell yeah!” Despite that, the guitars are certainly the album’s focal point and are enjoyable.
ONE MAN ARMY have banged out a fun album with “Error In Evolution”, but not one I’d care to listen to more than every great once in a while. It’s heavy, it sounds great, but there are many other bands playing a similar style of modernized Thrash that simply do it better.
(Online June 30, 2007)