ONE MAN ARMY AND THE UNDEAD QUARTET - 21ST CENTURY KILLING MACHINE - NUCLEAR BLAST
Two years after the split of The Crown singer Johan Lindstrad returns with a new contract, a new band and a new album. To be honest, when the name of the new band was announced it sounded a tad cheesy to me. It occurred to me that the band would either not be serious or not too heavy. In fact, One Man Army And The Undead Quartet has turned out quite well and certainly better than the couple of bands the other former The Crown members have founded. To be clear though, while most of the press on the Swedes speaks of old school death metal and such this is neither like good old Dismember nor is it like Suffocation, Possessed, Morbid Angel or the like.
Instead, pursuing a path of heavy/death metal the Swedish five have produced an album that is powerful, beefy and punishing. The album starts with its weakest track, Killing Machine. The song is a bit all over the place and fails to quickly establish the band’s sound or identity. So Grim So True So Real is heavy, Behind The Church has a great rhythm as well as lots of guitar and varied arrangements, while Branded By Iron comes at the listener in melodic, but dangerous fashion. This latter song moves at a leisurely pace, but is arranged well and sports the menacing snarl of the band’s founder/singer.
Overall, 21st Century killing Machine moves well because of the vocals, the riffs and arrangements and the loads of interesting guitar work that is strewn on each track. In contrast, the drumming needs a little motivation and excitement worked into it. Moreover, while there might not be a lyric sheet, the songs seem to have fascinating stories attached to them upon a listen or two. The titles probably give that away anyway. All in all, a fine package complete with the artwork and the unusual band name. - Anna Tergel
ONE MAN ARMY AND THE UNDEAD QUARTET - ERROR IN EVOLUTION - NUCLEAR BLAST
Very few bands are able to release albums that are good end to end (this is not 1984 after all), and the Swedish quintet is no exception, but Error In Evolution gets many things right. The album contains several very good death/thrashy songs with convincing gruff singing and above all a warm and heavy production. The drum sound is excellent throughout, for example. The guitars are impressive and the group knows the value of a solo or two. This whole thing works. The band does veer into heavy metal at times and, above all, gets into the cheese making business via some hammy lyrics and titles like Knights In Satan’s Service (KISS) or unnecessary cover versions like Alice Cooper’s He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask).
Over all however, the album that might or not be titled after right-wing party staffers is an exciting import from Sweden with all the ingredients that make metal and its sub-genres gripping. The second album is as good, if not better, than the debut. - Ali “The Metallian”
One Man Army And The Undead Quartet