Review Summary: Heart, Heart,Heart Attack! ♥ Thrash 'till fuckin death
In all honesty folks, we have a serious contender for 'best melodic thrash album Ever along with Doomsday for the Deceiver, Spreading the Disease and Eternal Nightmare. Let's analyze things one by one, shall we?
The drumming is damn sick exceptionally good .
The bass is on-par with Frank Bello. And you know what? It's AUDIBLE! You can hear the bass in every track, clear as day.
Yet the highlights are, more often than not, the RIFFS! They are every bit as legendary as Doomsday's or Spreading the Disease's riffs.
The interesting fact about this record is that the musicians who played on it must have either started off with music right from the point when they stepped out of their respective mother’s wombs or they are fully certified freaks of nature. Have you ever come across a vocalist who sings the entire album in high pitched falsetto? Here, the man in question and also behind the microphone, Mike Sanders pulls it off with ease and shows no signs of discomfort. Now, that by all means should have made him worthy of an eyebrow raise by the Guinness Records. The guitarist on the other hand is a guy called Josh Christian who is by far one of the most technically proficient six stringers ever in the fraternity of heavy metal. His insanely unbelievable fretwork makes well known guitarists such as Marty Friedman and Kirk Hammett sound like they’ve just joined guitar tutorial classes. The bassist and drummer too are exceptionally good with their instruments and make good use of their talents.
Each song in here showcases the best abilities each band member possessed. The opener “Heart Attack” for instance shows Sander’s range and his ability to shift from a normal pitch to a deafening wail. This track by the way is one of the fastest ones around and a great one to kick off with. “Social Overload” has some well written basslines and riffs that are slightly reminiscent of Flotsam and Jetsam’s “Desecrator” but slightly mid paced and not as frenzied. The third track is the slowest one and perhaps the only one to drift towards groove, an idea which would later transform into a global phenomenon and bring forth countless bands. Josh Christian pulls of unbelievable solos on almost all the songs, but the crème de la crème is undoubtedly “World Circus” where the popular circus theme is turned into a staggering thrash riff!!!! Even the semi acoustic, “Count Your Blessings” suggests that even heavy metal ballads can kick serious ass. Drumming is perhaps most notable on the furious “False Prophets”, “Door To Hell” which shows a certain Laaz Rockit like catchiness and also “Victims”, where the drummer really bangs the skin the hardest.
The vocals by the mythical Mike Sanders are the best if we are talking about shrieks. I think that very few singers had the same power from the throat like this one has. His style is truly original and unmistakable; it’s always truly powerful and very high in tonality. It’s not a thing that everybody can enjoy, but once you get into his style, everything becomes clearer and surely more enjoyable. The band is always truly compact and relentless. The drums are compulsive, neurotic and the guitars follow the same path under the sign of the more classical assault of riffs. If the opener, “Heart Attack”, is on pure up tempo with awesome solos and rhythmic parts, the following “Social Overload” is more mid-paced with a restart by the middle.
The production is something great to me. It has a strange sort of reverberation for the guitars and exalts the dry out drums sound. The main role, anyway, it’s for the guitars and the technique of Josh Christian, one of the most talented guitarists ever in this gene. The riffs are always precise and the solos are a mix of various techniques, from shredding to tapping, tremolo picking and I don’t know what else. “Pain and Misery” and “Voices” are less impulsive and the tempo on these songs is less fast. The guitars always give the right, catchy melodic lines and the vocals follow them under the sign of pure high tonalities. The bass is always present and like in “Voices” we can find good duets with the guitars.
There are various stop and go and even if the tempo is not so fast like in the opener, the tension never goes down. With “Door To Hell” we are back to speed with faster palm muting riffs and lots of tempo changes. The galloping, hyper technical riffs and the vocals are amazing. The title track is remarkable for the always intense guitars work and the fast bass drum parts while “47 Seconds of Sanity/Count Your Blessings” is a semi-ballad with beautiful melodies and a thrash/speed restart. “False Prophet” is insanity through two minutes of semi up tempo parts and blasting solos and the “Haunted Earth” follows more or less the same style but, this time, with more groove.
The last “Victims” should be very fast and so it is. It’s very similar to the opener for the galloping riffs and the always present melodies even during the fast parts. The choruses are perfectly stuck. A special credit should be given for the intelligent, corrosive and still actual lyrics about politics and society. This album is a very good example of how thrash/speed/power metal was meant to be done back in those years and now it’s rightly a cult among the metalheads.