BY: TJ Fowler
Label: Burned by God Records
Extreme metal has always been a very hit or miss category for me. Usually more miss than hit. But on occasion I do run across a band that turns out to be a pleasant surprise. While I was in Nashville to cover the Sabaton/Nightwish show I was approached by one of the road crew who asked me if I would take the time to listen to a couple CDs of bands he had on his label. One of these bands of course Condition Critical which I will be discussing here.
As I mentioned, Condition Critical would be described as an ‘extreme’ band but really I guess a more accurate description would be that the band could be described as an extreme thrash band. Think of bands like Sodom or Kreator with maybe a touch of Slayer. Yes, there are bands out there that are more extreme than those bands I just mentioned but if you think of typical thrash bands these bands are typically more aggressive than their counterparts. So with that in mind in terms of style, Condition Critical lean more towards the German thrash bands than say the American ones.
So what does ‘Operational Hazard’ offer up for us metal heads and more importantly for the hardcore thrash fans out there looking for something new to sink their teeth into. Well, to put it mildly, the bands opens in high gear, burning high octane fuel and spitting out a lot of hate filled guitar riffs and metal madness. The album is very tight and the musicianship is high in terms of performance. Vocals are fast, furious, gruff and growling. The guitars and drums are great and the players are very skilled in what they are churning out…which is some great thrash metal that means aims to tear you to shreds.
As I stated, the more extreme metal acts sometimes leave me thinking, ‘I don’t get it?’ But I found myself listening to this album over and over again and I really enjoyed the great thrash metal offered up here.
There are thrash bands out there that are good but forgettable then there is a band like Condition Critical that I feel really have a shot at being a heavy hitter in the thrash metal arena. But it isn’t the songs that were pure speed or scream until you puke blood that I found to be the best the band has to offer.
There are two songs on the album where the band mixes it up a bit and puts in some nice interludes, intros that hook the listener or slower parts showcasing their skills in songwriting. These songs are Sector 16 and Shock Therapy. I felt these songs are the ones the band can look at and see what their strengths as songwriters are and can build on for future releases.
So, to put an end to the review and sum up my feelings, I highly recommend thrash fans seek out Condition Critical as they champion their genre of metal very well. It is no nonsense, hit you in the face thrash metal that will either kill you or make you stronger from listening to it. Hopefully the latter.