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Himsa Courting Tragedy And Disaster

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Himsa - Courting Tragedy And Disaster
01. Dominion
02. Rain To The Sound Of Panic
03. A Girl In Glass
04. Kiss Or Kill
05. Jacob Shock
06. Cherum
07. It's Nights Like This That Keep Us Alive
08. Loveless And Goodbye
09. Scars In The Landscape
10. Sense Of Passings
11. When Midnight Breaks
2003 Prosthetic Records

OUR SCORE
9
USER SCORE
-
Reviewed by: Michael Gluck   //   Published: 7/29/2003

Just when I was convinced that the last chapter had been written in the book of thrash metal, Himsa pries open the back cover and drives a wooden stake directly through its heart. "Courting Tragedy And Disaster" is implicated in sacrilege from the start. Most bands spend entire careers banging their heads against a wall while Himsa have knocked it down in one try. Not only does Himsa do the Swedish thing severely better than the very bands they plagiarize, but they accomplish all of this, and more, on what should be called their proper debut. Their 1999 Revelation Records full-length "Ground Breaking Ceremony" was anything but, and it was clear, following a justifiable lack of acclaim, that the band needed a new sense of direction. Considering they were bordering on a confused hardcore and metal hybrid sound with a rock vocalist (who would have sounded more at home fronting one of the aforementioned label’s dozen other emo rock bands), the fork in the road offered a number of paths which Himsa could have chosen, probably even with some marginal success.

Affected by the all too familiar plague of member loss and perhaps the sense that their true ferocious potential had yet been tapped, Himsa took the completely unexpected route of full transformation this time around. On what has been their best known release until now, 2001’s "Death Is Infinite" EP offered a glimpse inside Himsa’s soul during its transformation and showcased a band rediscovering the blunt effectiveness of early thrash, while bringing to mind heroes from the day like Testament and Death Angel, yet still serving up a side dish of death melodicism for good contemporary measure. Being that the release was brutally fresh and wholly satisfying, Himsa could have stayed on that path and ensured a healthy legion of disciples as was evident at Hellfest 2002, where they delivered an eye-popping performance both musically and visually.

The transformation continued for Himsa until they settled on the mind-blowing and especially traditional heavy metal sound that they now embody, showcased in its raw strength on their Prosthetic Records unveiling, "Courting Tragedy And Disaster," an album that daringly rivals Lamb Of God’s two pioneering albums, "New American Gospel" and "As The Palaces Burn," aspiring to become the label’s new calling card. So individually concentrated and dark are the songs on "Courting Tragedy And Disaster" that should Himsa remain on this musical path for some time to come, and tour vigorously in support of this album, therein lies the reasonable assertion that they could come completely out of left field in laying claim to being one of the most honest traditional metal bands to come along in years and from hardcore roots nonetheless, which is coincidentally the foundation of the hottest new bands in thrash metal right now like Darkest Hour, Shadows Fall, God Forbid, and Killswitch Engage.

The bands who influenced Himsa during their crafting of "Courting Tragedy And Disaster" are easily identifiable upon the first few notes of the album opener and aptly-titled "Dominion": Iron Maiden’s galloping bass lines and rapid-fire guitar picking, In Flames’pounding melodic grooves, and Metallica’s straightforward thrashing from their best era (that of the mid to late eighties). Spearheaded by the confrontational and mercilessly roaring John Pettibone, Himsa guitarists Kirby Charles Johnson and Sammi Curr (who was recently replaced by Matt Wicklund) carry their weight in gold and deliver the most memorable traditional guitar schooling that has been seen since the Swedish movement arrived Stateside. And while their longtime drummer Tim Mullen was recently replaced by Steve Fournier, the scorching backbone that he provides on "Courting Tragedy And Disaster" won’t soon be forgotten. Longtime friend Steve Carter’s traditional-sounding production of the album is decidedly different than his work on Himsa’s previous releases. As a result, his genius sixth sense allowed "Courting Tragedy And Disaster" to be what it is: a metal masterpiece.

Bottom Line: Observing the deserved resurgence of heavy metal’s once reigning popularity, most record labels are scurrying to sign what they hope to be the next big metal discovery. Unfortunately, more often than not, they end up with yet another unpromising shell of a band, typically groups of youngsters prancing about like guitar prodigies just because they bought "Slaughter Of The Soul" and "Whoracle" a couple of months earlier and effectively years too late. And while Himsa only did put their love for Swedish-influenced thrash metal to tape recently for the first time, their unmistakable proficiency renders them more than convincing to bear the right to drink from the holy waters of Gothenburg.

Comments
Hellaween_   posted 1/25/2006 4:05:55 PM
This is the greatest album ever written...EVER!!
Nico_   posted 12/20/2005 9:37:33 AM
Great, fantastic, wonderful
The vocals are hard and relentless
The lyrics are obscure but great
Instrumentally, hard hitting
himsafan_   posted 11/6/2005 1:31:56 AM
man this album is good!
Strongarm_   posted 10/19/2005 12:07:03 AM
Why nobody else has commented on this album is beyond me. It is quite amazing, and undoubtedly Himsa's best effort yet. If you love blast beats, melody, harmonizing, beat downs, beautiful solos, and just overall thrash, this album is for you.