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Full Scale

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Album Review

Full Scale courted U.S. major labels with two self-released efforts in 2003, the Black Arrows and White Arrows EPs. The releases established the Australian quartet's fiercely jagged take on alternative metal, where frontman Ezekiel Ox seethes through clenched teeth about politics and social darkness over tightly focused electric guitar bursts. Though it was recorded with loud rock vet Jay Baumgardner, half the material on Full Scale's eponymous Columbia debut is derived from those earlier EPs. Which is OK — tracks like "Party Political," "Empty Texas," and "Rapture" sound like required mission statements, anyway. Helmet's breakneck stops and starts fuel Rage-derived lyrical fire, and driftier elements here and there are counterpoints to the heaviness. This works particularly well on "Sickness," where towering choruses of distortion are surrounded by twisty lead guitar and reverb. It's this easy to classify Full Scale. But Ox is an incredibly charismatic frontman — he convinces you that "Kill your boss and take all his money/Here comes the weekend!" is a valid catch phrase. And Jimmy Tee's guitar has a dangerous flatness, like a saw blade loose from its slotting table. ("Manifesto" is a six-string highlight.) "Download the Destruction" is a slow burn that taunts Web culture from the computer's point of view, and the verses of "Empty Texas" are a stuttering post-hardcore thrill. But it's "Smiles" and "Party Political" that own the album's best moments. Ox's anti-government anger isn't focused. But lines like "I see a smile that is f*****g me" and "This party is political activity" are pretty energizing when bound to Full Scale's thudding, raw instrumentation.


Formed: 2000 in Perth, Australia

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Australian alternative metal combo Full Scale featured vocalist Ezekiel Ox, guitarist Jimmy Tee, bassist Robkaay, and drummer Crutey. Successful gigging in their hometown of Perth led Full Scale to bigger venues in Melbourne and Sydney, and by 2003 considerable buzz was building. The Black Arrows and White Arrows EPs appeared through their own label, Popstar, the same year, and the band's hard-hitting, gristly sound -- led by Ox's vocal seethe -- caught the interest of American majors. Full Scale...
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