STAMPIN' GROUND - A NEW DARKNESS UPON US - CENTURY MEDIA
Those who have visited the town of Cheltenham in England know that it is an idyllic place. The setting is misleading though. The town hosts UK's foremost spying centre where British agents snoop on people the world over. Cheltenham is also the birth place of Stampin' Ground.
Those of us who had previously dismissed Stampin' Ground as yet another hardcore band have apparently been both wrong and right. The quintet retains the feel of a hardcore band, especially given the straightforward screaming of singer Adam Frake-Sime. His vocals though have to compete with the music for space and that, on A New Darkness Upon Us, is pure Slayer. The album's name should have given it away of course. The band's musical approach is quite metallic here and past an intro akin to Overkill the songs adopt and adapt every Slayer riff imaginable. What they do not incorporate though are Slayer's solos of which the band has none. Another noteworthy ingredient is the punchy and powerful sound concocted by engineer and producer Andy Sneap. The drums, for instance, are marvelous. The bass drums on Betrayal Has A Face, furthermore, propel the band to the next level.
A New Darkness Upon Us has turned out to be a surprisingly listenable affair and anyone who had contemplated giving the band a miss previously should give the guys a chance if this review seems remotely interesting. - Ali "The Metallian"