Recently I have been embroiled in a lot of bands that combine Death and Thrash Metal, the likes of INVOCATOR and SKELETONWITCH were the only two that truly stood out. Once again I find another unique rarity in the form of Italy's 6th COUNTED MURDER, reaffirming my love for Italian Metal bands. This incredibly skilled quintet plays an aggressive mix of Death and Thrash, but with surprising (and often unexpected) Progressive overtunes.
"Dark Room" began with exactly that kind of Progressive vibe, with a syncopated, stunted rhythm overlaid with spacey guitar leads. From the onset of the verses, I felt that the choice of the way in which this song was mixed was a strange one, not too dissimilar to obscure 1980's Thrash bands, with the bass's high end notes very prominent in the mix and rhythm guitar that almost quiet in comparison. In the more complicated sections, this feeling tends to wear off; musically, there is a lot going on. "Grave" is probably my favorite recording by this band; it is an excellent combination of Thrash, Death and Heavy Metal; I would go as far as likening it to an ICED EARTH with coarse vocals, which themselves remind me strongly of CARCASS' Jeff Walker. It is filled to the brim with stacks of technical, yet incredibly catchy riff patterns.
Further down the album, my opinion on the guitar mixing had changed completely. I felt like the instruments were progressively melded together into a more fearsome force. "Dead Man Talkin" is one of the faster tracks, and explores more unusual chord and melodic patterns, with some extremely exquisite solos and lead guitar patterns. "Memories" is one of the few tracks that ventures solely into the realm of Thrash Metal with powerful, SLAYER-like riffs and intricate melodies, not too dissimilar to those found on CARCASS' "Heartwork" album.
All in all, their self-titled is a solid debut effort that, while a little inconsistent, reels in enough Proggy flourishes and genre crossovers to create a veritably unique Thrash album.
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