When the debut CD “This Violent Earth” was released about two years ago, it had potential. It wasn't perfect, but there was something special and I was hoping with round two that they would hit the nail on the head. Here, on “Cycle Of Pain”, not only did they get it right, but it crushes your speakers and head. The secret to this success story here was a little line up change. The original vocalist left and in comes Tim Bouchee. The man can scream, snarl and sing. Former TESTAMENT bassist, Greg Christian joins the fold and the original drummer Ovie Rodriguez has decided re-join the band and this is the best move that he could have made.
The title cut decimates everything that stands in its way. Everything on here sounds crystal clear as the punishment commences. The one thing here that is noticeable is the production of the drumming as well as Ovie's performance. It has a Vinnie Paul vibe without mimicking him. They are sharp, clear and distinctive. Tim's voice has range and doesn't stay put in one style for too long. He can scream like a banshee which he does on here, but he can also sing with sincerity when need be. The guitar work from original member Freddy and Mario is superb. There is no time for filler, but they manage to squeeze in a solo that just burns the disc. "Tentacle" is a full on Metal assault that is jammed pack with power and muscle from each member. When Tim slows it down just a bit during the chorus, you will notice a little bit of James Rivera in there. Don't worry, it's not like it lasts forever. When he sings like that, the era of classic 80's Metal bands come to mind. Too many to mention here.
After a few aggressive tracks, we are shown a somewhat softer side with "Fiction." It's rhythmic and catchy, but there is also a little rage in there as well. This is very versatile and dynamic for one of the slower tunes. Another one of Ovie's stand out performance "Crack In The Sky" with the mid paced yet catchy as hell mid tempo double bass drumming that is not only tight, but thunderous and timed perfectly as well.
With the exception of a few songs on here sounding like a demo, this is what the band needed to do in order to survive the Metal world. They shook things up for the better and the result is an album that is dynamic and filled with musical changes that keeps things fresh. If they would have done another album like the first one which is only filled with rage and speed, then they would have been done. This has the perfect mix of Thrash, old school Metal and even a little bit of Speed. Bon appetite! (Online November 17, 2005)