Review Summary: If thrash metal was a religion, so this stuff was obviously not for the infidels. And, there's no place for the infidels to enjoy this blessed-creation, unless they swear to repent, re-baptize themselves, and revert to the right path of thrash soul!
Oh really, the first crucial thing that people have to concern about I, Infidel
probably is the vocals. It's pretty fine and fair to warn people before they check out and get into this great stuff, especially for who don't like clean vocals delivery. In a glance, their vocals signature is bit reminiscent of Joey Belladonna of Anthrax. Beside its rather monotonous and boring style, it's also lack of variation with all of its super clean articulation, and sometimes it's hard to decide whether the vocalist was singing or he's just speaking and shouting within the music. Ritual Carnage's vocalist does not fit this such intense, speed, and extreme thrash music. Perhaps, if he had a bit heavier and darker vocals character just like their previous release The Birth of Tragedy
(2002), so I, Infidel
would be flawless. In the end, this such thing is debatable and arguable - every thrash metal fan has own understandable preference. Part of people love Dave Mustaine's vocals style, while another part think and argue that Dave doesn't fit that such extreme music of Megadeth. This case also prevails upon Ritual Carnage.
Musically, I, Infidel
has adopted a lot of styles from old school thrash, especially the intensity side of speed and aggressiveness. This style actually would remind people to impressive Reign In Blood
of Slayer, Schizophrenia
of Sepultura, and even Persecution Mania
of Sodom. However don't expect much for some raw side, because the production itself is pretty polished and modern. Blended and mixed minor style and influence of modern death metal, the most noteworthy aspect of this Japan-based band should be their relentless thrashy; intense, sharp, and fast paced with heavy rhythms. Oh thanks God, they don't provide any ballad track in this release. Although intro is quite common, nothing special yet, but the follow-on track, "The Perfect Strain", is so powerful and 'punchy'. Beside fast and energetic riffs, Ritual Carnage's solos are also applaudable. Despite the solos might be a bit reminiscent of many great thrash releases of 80s, but their pair guitarist trade-off awesome leads and shreds on almost every track of the album.
All track is quite linear in quality, and the most important one is linear in the side of speed and aggressiveness. The listener can find similar type/taste of "The Perfect Strain" in the other tracks such as "Axiom", "I, Infidel", "Straight To The Nether Regions", and etc. However, there is also one track with medium speed intensity that probably could be enjoyed by any other common metal lover - the track that's meant here is "Do Not Resuscitate". This track begins with some heavy and tasteful riffs, then it kicks the air and accosts the eardrums friendly with all of its groovy side. It's the only track where the vocalist obviously could 'sing' and entertain the listener with his pleasant vocalizing. Well, then about Ritual Carnage's musicianship, they're skilled and talented. The duo guitarist are able to make any thrash fan hails upon their capability. The bass player, in fact he has no space to show-off the skill, nevertheless it is pretty audible and well-mixed. Then also, the drumming is one of best aspect of this release. It's adequately solid with all ferocious beats of double-pedal delivery and nice fills here and there - this side has no any significant flaw or weakness. The drummer is pretty consistent throughout the album. Perhaps the only real question is how the drummer stands out himself, and soon he signs his own 'trademark' style. So far, as long as the drumming is well-delivered, it's real fair to praise his hard-work because, that is reasonable, indeed!
Lastly, this is true excellent release. Though it's not as grandiose as Slayer's Reign In Blood
both in songwriting composition and the side of technicality itself, but still I, Infidel
fairly varied in composition. And surely, Ritual Carnage doesn't fail to satisfy any thrash metal fan who always starves for great relentless stuff. Despite the vocals is the only side that might require some getting used to, above all I, Infidel
still does provide a solid run of music from the beginning to end. Therefore, this 35 minutes thrash is worth a listen!