Review Summary: Deron Miller of CKY fame surprises all by not creating a terrible melodic death metal album.
You best give CKY
frontman Deron Miller some credit: Tactical
is actually better than you thought it would be. When World Under Blood first surfaced in 2006 as a melodic death metal project, surely we were all shaking our heads: this won't turn out well at all. Somebody associated in the alternative metal and post-grunge field of CKY
dabbing in the Swedish stylings of In Flames
' ilk was a disaster waiting to happen. “I had always wanted to do some kind of death metal project. I just didn’t know what I wanted it to sound like,” said Miller in an interview with MetalUnderground
. A kind of why-the-hell-not agenda and throw in the partnership with Divine Heresy
's drum-kit burner Tim Yeung, and Miller clearly had more than he could he could handle on his hands.
Yet playing through Tactical
, you'll be surprised at how much Miller is able to competently pull this bull-shi
t agenda off well, if doing nothing original or moving in the process. An interviewer asked Miller if he ever asked anyone for help or guidance, and the frontman simply responded that “[he] felt pretty confident about what [he] would come up with metal-wise.” And confidence is one aspect of Tactical
that you can always hear throughout its playing time. Songs move and coalesce quite seamlessly - barring a few annoying elements, but more on that later. Yeung's work behind the kit is just as frantic as it is in own main project as well, too, and most of the guitar work is impressive in its technicality and restraint within a melodic template.
In fact, Tactical
's framework and ground elements are arguably the makings of the best melodic death metal that 2011 has seen thus far. It's a speedy blend – think Dark Tranquillity
at their most fierce, Archons
more or less, with Neuraxis
' technical flare, and it doesn't want for any missing instrumental space or annoying keyboard inclusions. However, it's when Miller starts playing with the subgenre's often troublesome clean vocal implementation that World Under Blood really slips up and loses focus on Tactical
. A hint of the album's problems come with opener “A God Among The Waste”, the clean vocals coming in with the surprisingly strong harsh vocals to ruin the flow and mood of the track over and over. As a mild harmonizing role, the clean inclusions are not as jarring, as on the end of “Into The Arms of Cruelty”, but their prevalent use throughout “Pyro-compulsive”, “Dead and Still In Pain”, “Under The Autumn Low”, “A God Among The Waste”, and “I Can't Stand His Name” - well over half of Tactical
– ruin things.
could have also done with more varied moments like closer “Revere's Tears” as well: harmonizing electric leads weave in and out of acoustic picking before the band launches in for the album's best track thus far – and no cleans are present either. Too much of Tactical
could fall into the same box and easily blend in together; though this problem is partially alleviated with Miller's choice to keep each song here within three-to-four minutes: “If a song is going to be eight minutes, it better be a song that doesn’t repeat the same thing over and over again, “ he told MetalUnderground
, “I’m usually comfortable between three-and-a-half, four minutes. That’s what I like to write.” And faithful to his word, Tactical
doesn't go that much over thirty minutes in its length, even with the inclusion of Megadeth
cover “Wake Up Dead”. This leaves you with a promising, quick melodic death metal album, well-played, if a bit bothersome for its flirtation with melodic death metal's cliches. But still, it proves Miller can do more than just the alternative metal of CKY
may be a forgettable effort all things considered in the long run, but at least it's not a disaster. And let's be honest here: didn't we all expect it to be horrendous? Surprisingly, it's actually solid.