Sunday, June 20, 2010

Once Dead - "Visions of Hell"

Once Dead - Visions of Hell
2008, Open Grave

1. Body Parts
2. Devotion
3. Visions of Hell
4. Grave Diggers: The Forgotten Genocide
5. The Contract
6. Loadicea
7. Feeding My Addiction
8. Rise Above
9. Flesheater
10. Defy Man

I ended up enjoying this thrash disc a lot more than I thought I would originally. At first, I thought I would love it. After all Once Dead features Doug Theime, Larry Farkas, Glenn Rogers, and Jim Chaffin. The first three guys were part of the original Vengeance Rising lineup and Jim Chaffin was from the Crucified. However, after hearing some samples I didn't think I would like it that much. I took a chance on it when I saw it for five bucks online and my first impressions were wrong. This is a pretty awesome album. One thing that comes through for me is the sheer power - both in the chugging guitar riffs and the brutal vocals of Devin Scheaffer. The songs are 100% old school thrash in the vein of the old Vengeance Rising with some metalcore vocals. The leads are amazing and the drumming of Jim Chaffin is similarly enjoyable. He adds some rolls and fills that remind me a lot of the original drummer for VR (can't remember his name). Also, I usually hate metalcore vocals but Devin Schaeffer's don' that's saying something.

While the music is a maelstrom of metal fury, the packaging of the CD could have been better. The artwork on the cover is very dark and doesn't allow you to see a lot of the detail that is more visible on the picture above. Also the track list on the case and in the liner notes is wrong, the one above is correct - the track list is even wrong on Itunes (thanks to Scott Waters [Ultimatum,] for the warning and correct track listing). Finally, the mastering is terrible. There's distortion, the sound is uneven, ugh... I'm not even sure this was mastered AT ALL. It's not so terrible that I can't listen to it, but I think the music would be better served by properly mastering it. On the other hand, the raw vibe does fit the music and made me think of Sacrament's Testimony of Apocalypse. So yeah... it just seems like Open Grave did a crappy job on the packaging.

Useless Fact: Most people know that Once Dead started out as a reunion of the old Vengeance Rising crew (minus roger) and featured Scott Waters on vocals. They made a DVD called Return with a Vengeance in which they played material from the first two VR discs. Eventually, most of the VR guys left and at this point I'm not sure who is in the band anymore except Jim Chaffin and Devin Schaeffer!

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