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Hell Sweet Hell

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Album Review

German hardcore metal at close to its finest is what Fear My Thoughts sets about giving fans. After the creepy, spooky "Intro," which sounds like an early demo by industrial darlings and fellow countrymen Rammstein, the group flies headfirst into the very strong and compelling "Windows for the Dead," resembling Judas Priest and Metallica, slowing down momentarily before returning to the high-octane guitar riffs of duo Markus Ruf and Patrick Hagmann. Metallic but melodic, Fear My Thoughts are great musicians first and foremost under that cover of gloom, brawn, and doom. Having a slight orchestral air to some songs is another plus, particularly on the slowly evolving "In the Hourglass," which showcases drummer Norman Lonhard's chops. The melody is off-kilter as the hellish pace slows down for the subpar chorus. It's as if two songs were melded into one. Fortunately the band regroups and nails the head-banging, fist-pumping highlight "My Delight" even with its vast, open bridge. When the group creates metal with a subtle cinematic touch, the results are quite surprising as they are on the infectious "Sweetest Hell," which entices you with its hook before bludgeoning you with classic metal arrangements with swift adjustments in pace and style. The letdown is "Dying Eyes," which runs through its guitar licks in the vein of hard rock or metal maestros like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani while vocalist Mathias von Ockl veers from guttural utterances to Bruce Dickinson-esque deliveries. Even with rapid-fire tunes such as "The Masters Call," the dark themes can dim the shining guitar and rhythms that are constantly being produced. Another sleeper pick is how "Ghosts of Time" has a touch of nu-metal swagger that feeds off the metal riffs time after time although it goes temporarily a bit limp in the chorus. As if they needed any more evidence they can nail nearly every song to a metal science, "Satisfaction Guaranteed" is a very fine romp that no metal fan would turn away from. A six-minute "...Trying to Feel" is too forced and a stretch for the group, sounding larger or more epic than needed.

Hell Sweet Hell, Fear My Thoughts
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