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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Review: Elm Street - Knock 'Em Out... With A Metal Fist

''Knock’Em Out… With a Metal Fist'' is the second album from the Australian traditional heavy metal band Elm Street. It is going to be released on June 24, 2016 by Massacre Records. The artwork is from the great Ken Kelly (Manowar, KISS) and the production is co-produced, mixed & mastered by Ermin Hamidovic.

The acoustic guitar intro of Face the Reaper gave me the impression that I just got a soft sounding album, but as soon as the guitars, drums, and bass joined in, it was clear that Elm Street was in for the kill. The song has a strong chorus and the heaviest sound I have ever heard from the band. However, it was still too early to make any remark on changes comparing to their previous album, Barbed Wired Metal.

Do you remember that I just told you that Face the Reaper is Elm Street’s heaviest song to the date? Forget it! Kiss the Canvas is heavy as hell. The screams of “knock’em out with a metal fist” on the song’s chorus are sick. Now I think I can say for sure that this record is very different from its predecessor. Will It Take a Lifetime is not as great as the first two, but it brings a Manowar influence, and it is a bridge between their previous and new sound.

The vocals of Ben Batres are also sounding different from Barbed Wired Metal. On the 2011 album, he sounded like a more aggressive Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger), but on the new tracks, I can even get hints of Chuck Schuldiner (Death, on The Sound of Perseverance album) Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom) and Schmier (Destruction), showing the increase in heaviness I keep talking about all the time.

The next awesome song in the riff machine that is ''Knock’Em Out… With a Metal Fist'' is Heavy Mental. Batres (vocals and rhythm guitar) and Aaron Adie (lead guitar) did a great job here, though some songs have similar structures. The bass/drums sections are also very good and very tight. Tomislav Perkovic is the drummer, but I am not sure if Nick Ivkovic recorded the bass parts. The release says he entered the band after the photo sessions for the record, but it does not say if he played on it or even who played them.

Heart Racer is the most melodic song on the album so far and has a mild hard rock influence on it. I liked it very much, especially the leads and solos. S.T.W.A is just an intro to Blood Diamond and its impressive 11 minutes. A good song with some moments that will be perfect time to bang your heads even harder and some slower moments to wave your hands in the air. Blood Diamond has also the best solo of the whole album. Good job, Aaron!

The last song, Leave It All Behind is… a ballad, believe it or not. And it is really great after all. I do not know if I am going crazy, but I could swear that I hear a bit of Lemmy here. Now I wish that Batres had sang more like this throughout the album. Just like the beginning, acoustic guitars end the record. Nice touch!

1. Face The Reaper
2. Kiss The Canvas
3. Will It Take A Lifetime?
4. Sabbath
5. Heavy Mental
6. Next In Line
7. Heart Racer
8. S.T.W.A
9. Blood Diamond
10. Leave It All Behind

Ben Batres - Vocals / Rhythm Guitar
Aaron Adie - Lead Guitar
Nick Ivkovic - Bass Guitar
Tomislav Perkovic - Drums

Written by Anderson Tiago

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