Ballistic - Ballistic
Tom Gattis, (vocals/guitar) first entered the scene way back in 1978 in the cult classic metal band Deuce. Tom later went on with Tension, releasing a well-received album in '86. In 96 Tom joined Wardog and signed with Metal Blade records. Wardog played great live shows with incredible receptions in Europe in the late 90's. After Tom's departure from Wardog in 2000, he set out to form Ballistic to create the music that he said he always wanted - back to his roots and what's in his heart, as he puts it.
It is a foundation of straight forward metal with strong elements of 80's thrash over it without sounding pretentious and like they are doing it for the sake of it, and the idea behind it is good. The albums kicks off with a couple of songs that smells Nuclear Assault or Kreator forged in a heavy/power metal form, and it is intense and powerful. It is a good flow and "go" behind the rythmsection, and the riffs are the things that catches the attention as they are intense, and goes in the vein as on Pleasure To Kill with Kreator or Reign In Blood with Slayer (not as good, though....but just to get you and idea of the style). It is all spiced up with quite a bit of parts and riffs that are strongely influenced by Iron Maiden, and sounds like an upspeeded version of them, while at one point a part of a song (The Dissection) is as close to Slayer, but slower, that you can get. In fact the similarities to Jesus Saves are too strong to be a coincidence. There are, however, parts of the album that are a bit too too weak and doesn't say much, and that is the thing that holds back the the rest of the chalises.
Around song 3 and forward it starts to be really interesting, because than both the melodies and the refrains get better for every song. It does not rise over anything else I have heard in the genre - it kind of stays in the "decent" area - but there are a few pearls here and there. The pace is almost consistant throughout the album, it is fast driven, uptempo double bass drum kicking in old school style and the influences that mainman/vocalist/guitarist Gattis mentions are obvious: Iron Maiden, Raven, Judas Priest, Accept and NWOBHM in general.
Call Me Evil is a really good song that has a great headbanging level, great riffing and a good refrain. Silent Killer that follows are also among the better on the album and that is thrash at its best. Corpse Stacked High, Undefeated and Undefeated are other songs that rise above the rest. The lack of variation makes the songs kind of float together a bit, but they have managed to keep it on the right side with melodies that hold, and some vocal changes.
Overall it works, though, and I am more than satisfied when the last tunes are fading out after 48 minutes. My daily dose of metal is, if not fulfilled, so at least satisfied. It is honest and straight forward metal, and if they can work varying the songs a bit more than we 're looking at something really good in the future.
Check this band out if you are a fan of at least 2 of any bands that are mentioned above, and if you are in for an intense hour of heavy riffing and thrashing.