We all go through transitions with Metal. One day we’re listening to the latest VADER album, and the next we’re dabbling with some old Bay Area Thrash a la SADUS and DEATH ANGEL. Like our moods, preferences are in constant flux; what drives us one day is suddenly stale, less impressive, or perhaps, just not hacking it anymore. Whether you want to base it on how ALICE COOPER of VENOM used to be the pinnacle of what was evil, or how METALLICA was the Thrashiest band in existence, it stands to reason that your perception, your attitude, can alter with the one bone-jarring scream, one frenzied guitar lick, or three and a half minutes of blasting.
This is where THROWDOWN’s “Vendetta” rolls in.
In 2005, just six years back, this album was exactly what I loved about Metal. You have that pissed off straightedge Hardcore mentality mixed with pounding Groove Metal in the vein of mid-90s PANTERA, the tortured roars of Dave Peters (who is really a solid goddamn frontman with a limitless air supply), and an enthusiastic slew of songs that, while not as original or technically advanced as other Speed or Thrash Metal acts, are never short on aggression, hookage, or personality.
The follow-up to 2003’s pummeling beatdown of a Metalcore record, “Haymaker,” “Vendetta” is just that near-flawless dumb-it-to-the-core moshpit album that makes you want to run circles around the fat kid with the IRON MAIDEN shirt. THROWDOWN make energetic music for energetic fucks – whether they’re popping Ritalin for their ADHD is a topic left for another site – and in its simplicity, it serves as a reminder, a piece of nostalgia that explicates exactly how much I’ve (or you’ve) grown in so short a period of time.
While today’s current Metalcore scene is festooned with fluorescent colors, bangs, skinny jeans and the puss-like, THROWDOWN was less about style as it was just about burning off some steam – for any weight-lifters out there who enjoy their Metal loud, dumb, and hostile, “Vendetta” is a worthy option. Void of any weak tracks, THROWDOWN’s fourth full-length album, and arguably their best, is filled with mid-tempo chugging, bass-heavy rhythms, and more than enough inspirational chorus chants to force your inner-fruitcake to explode from its shell of Metal-snobbery repression.
Songs like “We Will Rise,” “Burn,” and the album’s best, the thunderous “Annihilation (N.W.D),” are prime examples of why this head-banging motherfucker of an album deserves its due place as one of better Groove Metal albums of the new millennium.
(Online March 15, 2011)