Oh, CRIMINAL. Where have you been all my life?! When I first looked at the basic research for this band (that I have never heard of) I was skeptical. “White Hell” is their 6th full length release since their debut in 1994, and I had never come across this band before? They must not be that memorable, obviously! Then I listened to “White Hell” and all of those assumptions were blown out of the water. Once again I prove that assumption makes an ass out of me.
Luckily, CRIMINAL has ended up in my collection. I can’t vouch for the rest of their discography, but if it is anything as lethal as their latest effort then I’m sure it’s worth the money to go through and pick up the rest. “White Hell” is a Death/Thrash assault of the likes that many cannot replicate and it’s done with such force and vigor that even some of the more widely known bands should take note.
Despite some easy comparisons that could be made to ONE MAN ARMY or the like, I felt as though CRIMINAL was bringing a new found punch to the arsenal with “White Hell”. The mega monster riffing, the endless lead guitar work, the finger bleeding soloing, the foundation destroying bass, the thundering snare driven drums, and the guttural roar of the vocals all work in unison to create a layered and pure adrenaline pumping album the likes that you have rarely heard. Although it’s nothing new to present structured Death Metal (see “Incubus”) with the chaotic tendencies of Thrash (see “21st Century Paranoia”), something about “White Hell” makes it fresh and a delight to listen to.
“White Hell” works on every layer that it throws together. I really had no complaints about this album at all. The production is tight and makes the band all the more surgically precise in their playing and writing, and the somewhat modern mixture of the different genres is instantly memorable and catchy. Quite simply this is going to be one of the best albums of 2009.
I give up a hardy applause to CRIMINAL for this release. If their back catalog is anything like this latest album then I am in for a few albums of pure carnage and pleasure. I would like to thank CRIMINAL for “White Hell” and give them big thumbs up on giving me a new band to promote and get behind. Well done.
Songs to check out: “Crime And Punishment”, “Sons Of Cain”, “Incubus”.
(Online March 8, 2009)