Master metal bassist - Dave "Jr." Ellefson has been through hell and back, but he remains the same kind, benevolent, genial soul. He has a new album out with his band F5, and The Reckoning is here. The time is right for this new CD, a complex mix of old school thrash riffing, recollecting the L.A. style of championed acts like Armored Saint, W.A.S.P., even Ratt, and more hard rockin' acts like Odin, Dokken & Keel.
There is also a very strong modern commercial presence in the music which will please fans of Disturbed, Atreyu, Shadows Fall, and Avenged Sevenfold. As this band is from Phoenix, Arizona, one can't help but hear some reference to veterans like Flotsam & Jetsam, Sacred Reich, and their ilk.
Fans of John Bush era Anthrax will also find the music enjoyable. I have not heard any new Anthrax songs with new singer Dan Nelson, but I imagine Dale Steele has a similar range. On the title track, which sounds like "Can U Deliver" by Armored Saint, meets "Family Tree" by Megadeth, Dan really expresses his frustration through his vocal histrionics.
It would seem that with songs which deal with such personal pain and anguish, that perhaps Dave Ellefson penned the lyrics, but all words are written on the heart of Mr. Steele, who has endured all the stress life has to offer. A song like "Love Is Dead" exhibits the excellent guitar talents of John Davis and Steve Conley. There are even Eastern elements, added for good measure, especially on songs like "Through Hell", and "Wake Up".
The real contribution which solidifies the sentiment is in the suicidal, tenacious drumming of Jimmy DeGrasso. He contributes that psychedelic funk vibe which permeates all throughout. I hear a hint of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, but also the more infectious grooves of Mordred and Mindfunk; and of course Suicidal Tendencies.
There is no excuse not to check into this tornado of tortured souls. Keep in mind, this is modern metal, a realistic cause for concern; so don't expect the classic speed metal of the 80's. Think in terms of Armored Saint's progression on Revelation, Anthrax's - We've Come For You All, or even some MD 45 songs. I'm opened minded enough to enjoy this for what it is. The music transcends the rank & file mediocre mallcore tripe ensnaring the airwaves. So wake up dude, it's time for The Reckoning!
See also: interview with Dave Ellefson