Metal is known for its “Supergroups”. DAMN YANKEES aside, there has also been AYREON, AVANTASIA, METALIUM, NIGHTRAGE and countless other groups of the type who are basically made up of successful musicians attempting a new direction. There are groups out there, though, that are made up of a hodgepodge of musicians from famous bands that really have little or no name recognition. For example, imagine a group made up of KING DIAMOND’s rhythm guitarist and bassist and the “other” singer of CRIMSON GLORY. That group, my friends, would be DISASTER/PEACE.
First though I would like to congratulate the band on their rather clever name which is a play on the common Metal pun “Disasterpiece”. Behind the name, though, is a rather messy slab of Classic, early 80’s Metal spruced up a bit with faster rhythms and small flecks of old American Power Metal. Now all you KING DIAMOND fans will be glad to know that the producer and mixer of the album is the mighty neo-classical shredder Andy La Rocque who also adds his finger wizardry to “Hallowed Death” in superb fashion. With such distinguished credits as EINHERJER’s “Odin Owns Ye All” and several EVERGREY albums it would seem that bringing in their old friend is exactly what mastermind/guitarist Pete Blakk and bassist Hal Patino needed to get their project up and running. However, La Rocque also produced FALCONER’s non-Blad albums, so....
At the very least one has to admire the group’s commitment to old-school Heavy Metal. Each track acts as an exercise in some form of Classic Metal covering everything from straight up Thrash (“Kill ‘Em and Love ‘Em”) to DIAMOND/ALICE COOPER-like theatrics (S & M). Often times, Blakk chooses to make one Metal element the focus to seemingly show off his mastery of all the pieces that make up the jigsaw that is Heavy Metal. Where power is the focus on “Judas Witch”, heaviness is the main element of “The Gaoler” and melody is the dominant factor in “My Guns.” That at least seems to be the idea behind this project, however Blakk and Patino are not the most gifted musicians out there and their exercises seem to be mostly unfruitful. In particular Blakk’s soloing is very heavy on the tremolo and whammy-bar effects. Yes I understand this is “Metal” we’re talking about here, but a well crafted solo will cover many notes in a few seconds or at least create a distinctive melody. A few notes whammied over and over again, such as in the opener “Scarecrow”, hardly constitutes as a good solo in the modern age of shredding and progressiveness. I get that that was the standard in the early 80’s, but over two decades later it is extremely dated.
As far as the vocals go, Wade Black is infamously terrible. He really caused riots when he took over for Nightmare in CRIMSON GLORY and he is no more capable this time around. Worse yet, he is trying, especially in the album’s creepier first half, to emulate KING DIAMOND. This emulation is not in the least bit successful and is woefully painful. The aforementioned “S & M” is probably the worst example of this but it gets even worse when he tries to mimic Plant as well on the LED ZEPPELIN cover “Immigrant Song”. It isn’t all bad though as Black only has about 3/4 of the album to sing on; the rest are instrumentals.
Positive notes should definitely be given to the album’s ballads which are rather well done and don’t detract from this debut’s overall momentum. Definite props should be given to the balls-to-the-wall head-bangers “Judas Witch”, “Hallowed Death” and “Blood to Blood” for basically saving the album from becoming too boring and misguided. Lodged deep within these recordings is an actual “band” waiting to break through. Unfortunately it seems like it spends far too much time trying everything out and mimicking other musicians who honestly shouldn’t be mimicked. More La Rocque guitar work and some fatter production wouldn’t hurt either. Otherwise this is a heavily flawed first effort that may only stumble more when the sophomore period rolls around. Still if you need an old-school, DIAMOND-esque mosher (minus the DIAMOND of course) this summer, than you can honestly do much worse than DISASTER/PEACE.
For Fans of: KING DIAMOND, CRIMSON GLORY (later), FORCE OF EVIL
(Online July 9, 2009)