Formed back in 2009, during which time this Perth, Western Australia-based heavy rock band released their self-titled debut album, Reaper's Riddle offer up their latest recording, the six-track/six-pack "Game Over". Serving as he follow up to "Drop"*, a single which was released in August of 2013, "Game Over" is a tale of two cities. Opening up (promisingly enough) with a brief instrumental intro (sounding for all the world like something Alice Cooper or Ozzy Osbourne might have used back in the early eighties) things take a turn for the worse with "If You Died Tomorrow"**, a tune that (for lack of a better reference point) comes across as a heavier version of Nickleback! To say that this was disheartening doesn't even begin to properly convey my disappointment. Especially as we're talking about a band that looks like this:
On "The Clock Part 1" lead vocalist Clayton Mitchell and company (guitarists Michael Willis & Dan Bishop, bassist Jason Edwards and drummer Wayne Frodyma) do make an attempt to right the wrongs and thanks to (slightly) ghoulish vocals and some heavy, post-grunge leads I found myself hopeful for better things to come. Once the title cut kicked in I found myself agreeing more with their (Facebook- posted) list of influences (everything from Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath to the likes of Disturbed, Rob Zombie and Megadeth/Metallica) as the band packaged classic rock riffs with the twisted mash-up of White Zombie and The Misfits! Moving on to "Fade The Grey" the band, which is highlighted by lead vocalist Clayton Mitchell's versatile vocal delivery (he seems to move between the kind of vocals you would expect to hear coming from bands like Staind, Puddle Of Mudd and Nickleback to this ghastly/ghoulish demonic front-man with little to no struggle!) again turns it's attention to classic guitar riffs although this time it's more in line with late 70's/early 80's hard rock and heavy metal. Pieced together with equal pieces/parts of Rob Zombie's spookiness and Pantera's groovy as hell nature it works so well that one can't help but wonder just what the heck was going through Reaper's Riddle's mind when they decided on "If You Died Tomorrow"? Dear God please tell me that some suit and tie rep didn't tell them that they needed a "single"! For this is one act that has the whole heavy rock/heavy metal sound down pat so there's no need to write some stupid radio rock crap when you're talking about how freakin' effective cuts like "Game Over" and "Fade To Grey" are! Either way we close out this promo version of "Game Over" just right with "Labyrinth". Here the Disturbed influences come rushing in and with a heightened sense of emergency the band rolls out the headbanging riffs of bands like Metallica and Megadeth while vocalist Clayton Mitchell acts like a wild & chained animal just waiting for his first chance to escape his enclosure and attack his prey! Hot damn! With a new album schedule for sometime later this year Reaper's Riddle are one band that needs a wider, more worldly-based audience so (hopefully) their next full-length affair leans closer to (style-wise) wicked cuts such as "Game Over", "Labyrinth"and "Fade To Grey" while pushing the envelope into even more adventurous (heavy metal) territory!
*As I was halfway done with this review it dawned on me that the band's name seemed awfully familiar. After going through my past posts I found that I had actually covered this ingle back in late August of last year! You can read that review right here: http://metalmark.blogspot.com/search?q=reaper%27s+riddle
**The tracklist for this (digital) promo was different then what you would find if you were to pick up this EP through Amazon or some other source. For whatever reason if went like this:
2. If You Died Tomorrow
3.The Clock Part 1
4. Game Over
5. Fade To Grey
Meanwhile, at least on Amazon, it goes like this:
2. Game Over
3. Fade To Grey
4. The Clock Part 1
6. If You Died Tomorrow
The "official" version (with "Game Over" as the second track) makes a HUGE difference so I suspect that somewhere along the way someone wised-up and change the running order of these tracks.
Labels: 2014, ghoulish, hard rock, heavy metal, heavy rock, post-grunge, Reaper's Riddle, Western Australia