I was more than satisfied with their last two releases and was extremely curious how the latest record would turn out especially since Henry Ranta wouldn't be on the drums anymore. His work was unmistakable and memorable. Well, I popped it in the first time and thought the CD was ok and that was because I missed Henry's work. I know. I had to get over it and I eventually did. I have listened to it several times more and I like what I hear.
Studio drummer Dirk from SCARVE filled in and did quite a nice job by being heavy, rhythmic and technical. Now, it's time to put all of the pieces together. So, how does this release measure up compared to the last several releases? "STD" kicks things off and as usual the guitar work from both Peter and Ola are catchy and packed with power. The drums are tighter than a virgin and I am quite sure that Henry would have approved. As for Bjorn's voice, he's getting a lot cleaner especially during the choruses. The rest of it is gritty, but very audible. I think that if you were a fan of the first two records you will be more than turned off by it. However, if you are a newer fan then this should wet your appetite.
"Speed's" voice gets more dynamic during "One With The Flies", but at the same time I can't help notice how much more commercial this track sounds. It has mass appeal but once again, the guitars during the solos are the highlight. "Weapon Of Vanity" is a beefed up more than the first few songs. There is more bite to them and could bring you back to the last couple of releases. While "Nerve" proves to be their catchiest and best yet, it's "Stalemate" that kicks it into high gear again with the aggressiveness and I am more than pleased with it. The brutal vocal attack followed up with drum beatings from the other side and guitar riffs that could take down Iraq with one felt swoop bring back plenty of good memories for me and should for others who loved their old work. Even though "Blind Eye Halo" is just a hair shy of two and a half minutes, this is their heaviest and best track. The drums grind a bit and it's furious as hailstorm. It doesn't let up and it's melody free.
God, I just wish that they would have pumped out a few more tracks like this. This is "Chainheart Machine" material. Ok, in the end. This is another good release. It has its moments and the CD is split with half melodic material and half heavy. This is more for the open minded and newer fans obviously. I think what hurts this a bit is that it's the slickest recording to date and there isn't enough raw power. I don't think that this is as memorable as NBC or FNF. Sorry! (Online May 3, 2005)