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Monday, July 11, 2016

Ragestorm - A Thin Line Between Hope and Ruin

Artist: Ragestorm
Release Title: A Thin Line Between Hope and Ruin
Year: 2013 (2016)
Label: Self-Released/Independent (Sliptrick Records reissue)
Genre: Death/Thrash Records
1. The Meatgrinder Theory
2. Debt Ritual
3. Polysilicotetrapropryvinylfluorethalene
4. Moloch
5. Idiocracy
6. Acid Tears
7. Interlude: Hari Seldon's Speech (feat. The Boylerz)
8. The Thin Line Between Hope and Ruin
9. Soldiers of a Lost War
10. New World Disorder
11. Reaching the Impossible

The debut full-length from Italian death/thrashers Ragestorm shows the effects of a band in such a situation while also offering plenty of promise for what’s to come in their career. For the most part this one carries along the type of melody-infused riff-work that seems to play through that style without any deviation. Switching between tight chugging and extra-sloppy swirling melodic runs in the guitar-work, there’s a pretty simplistic energy attributed to the tracks here that occasionally brings up some fire from time-to-time, though the majority of this one gets stuck with those chugging rhythms holding the paces down in the mid-tempo for the most part. These tend to feature so many rather bland and plodding rhythms that they’re wholly lifeless at worst, while the best effort about them is that they’re decent-if-unspectacular. This applies to an overwhelming majority of the album as well, which tends to leave this staggeringly overdone and seemingly just filler material on the whole. Even more to the point there’s a wholly unneeded and just plain needless interlude to the album which is a droning and endless industrial collage that plays over a sampled speech that’s just pointless and seemingly included for no real reason which makes this a deviation to the whole effort since this one doesn’t bring up the points in the speech overall and the whole thing is just such a painful experience. This pointlessness of this really showcases the early point of the bands’ career at the fullest and should not be continued in the future.

The first half here is decent enough if not all that impressive. Opener ‘The Meatgrinder Theory’ features a sampled chainsaw reviving intro leading into driving drumming and stellar riff-work through the steady mid-tempo series of riff-work through a fine charge as the soaring melodic leads carry through the solo section and bringing the tight chugging through the final half for a solid opening effort. ‘Debt Ritual’ brings tight, crunchy riffing and blistering drumming churning along through a frantic, mid-tempo pace with plenty of slight chugging rhythms and steady riffing carrying along through the stuttering main patterns carrying into the solo section and working through into the finale for a somewhat decent if overall unimpressive effort. The short and brutal ‘Polysilicotetrapropryvinylfluorethalene’ features immediate blasting drumming and rather frantic swirling riff-work charging along at butal, blistering charging patterns with the choppy rhythms leading to the tight, driving final half for a rather enjoyable effort for the album’s clear highlight. ‘Moloch’ features light acoustic riffing amid crackling noise before quickly turning into a simple, straightforward plodding chugging series of riff-work with plenty of pounding drumming keeping the simplistic elements firmly along through the utterly ferocious finale for an impressive finish to a bland effort previously. ‘Idiocracy’ takes churning drumming and swirling riff-work through the mid-tempo chugging paces with simplistic rhythms and frantic patterns churning along with the chugging riff-work leading along to the fiery solo section and bringing the energy back into the final half for a decent if unspectacular effort. ‘Acid Tears’ immediately blasts through frantic razor-wire riff-work with plenty of solid swirling patterns charging along through the simplistic paces charging along into the dynamic, fiery solo section and carrying the straightforward rhythms along throughout the finale for a rather enjoyable effort.

The second half isn’t that bad and manages to make for a far more impressive effort. ‘Interlude: Hari Seldon's Speech’ features a sampled speech over a droning industrial sound collage that doesn’t in the slightest bit need to be there and really just eats up time on the album overall. The title track takes militaristic pounding drumming and simple chugging rhythms that swirl around through rather tepid plodding paces with the occasional flurry of stellar melodic leads that whip along through the fiery solo section and continue swirling along through the melodic chugging patterns in the final half for a solid if generally decent effort. ‘Soldiers of a Lost War’ takes heavy melodic riffing over a gradual build-up style drumming that leads to the simplistic chugging riff-work bringing along the simplistic charging rhythms with plenty of rather dynamic, dexterous drum-work bringing along a sense of energy on through the finale for another wholly unimpressive effort. ‘New World Disorder’ uses thumping riff-work and charging drumming carrying along through the swirling frantic rhythms with plenty of melodic charging flying along through the stylized twisting rhythms that lead along through the solo section and bringing the tight chugging into the final half for a decent-enough effort overall. Lastly, album-clsoer ‘Reaching the Impossible’ takes frantic swirling riff-work and plenty of chugging patterns whipping along through the frantic up-tempo rhythms whipping along through the rather dynamic stuttering patterns holding along through the charging solo section and leading into the extended soulful piano finale for a somewhat enjoyable lasting impression.

While the band is clearly still going through the learning curve when it comes to their style and energy, there’s enough elements at play here to work with in the future that it could serve them well whenever they carry on which leaves this one still only for the most devout fans of the style as a whole at this point.

Score: 64/100

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