Thursday, January 23, 2014

Backwater-Take Extreme Forms

Iron Shield Records

Calling Böblingen, Baden-Württemberg (Germany) home, Blackwater, which has been around in one form or another since the early eighties, released this, their third overall full-length release, late last month. With a new lead vocalist in tow (Oliver Hirsch who looks as if he is taking over the duties once held by Backwater's long-time/still current as of this typing guitarist Thomas Guschelbauer) and what appears to be a renewed sense of urgency and intensity  (given the overall strength of  this nearly fifty minute long recording!) "Take Extreme Forms" is one album that shows it's never too late in the game to make a significant score! For a band whose last two "official" albums were released in 1984 and 1985 ("Revelation" and "Final Strike" respectively with neither release receiving high marks from the looks of it ) and one which took some strange detours along the way (from 1992-1996 they were known as Tai Pan and released one full-length album in 1995's "Slow Death" before turning into X-Ray in 1996 and releasing "Dehumanized" the very same year) Backwater sure seem as if they have finally hit upon a winning formula with "Take Extreme Forms". Despite it's unassuming album art and ho-hum song titles ("Arise", "Run or Die", "The World", "Aliens Blood", "Burn", "Nuts and Guts" and "Grizzly Bear") this album simply slays! On one hand the band's sound channels many a great German band, thrash metal or not (everything/everyone from Accept to Living Death) while on the other hand visions of group's like Metallica and Slayer popped into my head as this 12-track album came ragging out of home stereo! While maybe not perfect (lyrically some of this seems a little "weak") there is much then enough positives to recommend an album like "Take Extreme Forms". From the throaty lead vocals of Oliver Hirsch to the thrash-attack guitar solos of  Thomas Guschelbauer and fellow six-stringer Lothar Lauble (with bass player Miguel Di Muzio and drummer Steffen Gottwald doing an excellent job of filling out the ranks of Backwater) heavy power metal/thrash fanatics should enjoy the pummeling that this album unleashes upon one's eardrums!  Backwater, or at least "Take Extreme Forms", is proof that it's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks!

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