2006 Nuclear Blast Records
01. Killing Machine
02. Devil on the Red Carpet MP3
03. Public Enemy No. 1
04. No Apparent Motive
05. Hell is for Heroes
06. When Hatred Comes to Life
07. So Grim, So True, So Real
08. Behind the Church
09. Branded By Iron
10. Bulldozer Frenzy
I was never a fan of The Crown. Something about them just never jumped out and grabbed me. For some reason, upon hearing of One Man Army and the Undead Quartet, a band featuring the former singer of The Crown, Johan Lindstrand, I got excited. I'm unsure why, as my biggest gripe with his former band was actually his vocals, but somehow I expected something different. 21st Century Killing Machine doesn't disappoint, per se, but it's nothing too engaging or thrilling to listen to.
Joining up with members of Reclusion and Persuader, Lindstrand performs ten tracks of relatively bland but respectable death metal with a rock emphasis showing through during some decent solos. Drawing influence from Slayer at times, it's got an old-school feel that also conflicts with unexciting guitar parts, especially during the verses of a handful of tracks. While there's 47 minutes of music to comment on, singling out more than a track to discuss and analyze still feels like it's reaching too far for content at times. There's a few moments throughout the record where the band ventures out and incorporates vocal effects or the occasional subtle keyboards for atmosphere, but they're hardly necessary and fail to break up the monotony of the album.
"No Apparent Motive" is actually an extremely respectable tune, featuring a faster beat and simplistic but well-arranged thrash riffs. The song slows down and takes a different course for the bridge and solo, but again returns to the tight rhythm of before. "So Grim, So True, So Real" picks up fantastically at a midpoint to introduce a slight amount of black metal into the mix before a brow-raising solo, forcing me to admit that there's definite potential that lies within the members of One Man Army and the Undead Quartet. It's the first instance on the album where everything comes together and moves from sounding displaced and awkward to dead-on and well executed. Through the use of more creative rhythms and more effects, the last half of the album rounds things out and even raises the bar slightly. The final track, "Bulldozer Frenzy," seems to serve as an ample tribute to The Crown with its quick and steady drumming, skillful solos, and aggressive thrashy demeanor. Unfortunately enough, right when you feel the band has begun to peak, the album ends.
Bottom Line: This is a passable album. There are a few good points and the bad points are never really too intolerable, but that's almost a fault in itself. There's very little that's memorable about 21st Century Killing Machine from either end of the spectrum. While I can assume the band isn't trying to do any real pioneering in the field of mid-paced death metal, there's just a significant lack of innovation. Perhaps Lindstrand's talents will better serve Sweden's Incapacity, a great band whom I've learned he's recently joined up with. If you'd like to get a hold of something related to the band that's almost twice as entertaining, track down their biography on their website.