THE CLASSIC STRUGGLE - FEEL LIKE HELL - IRONCLAD/METAL BLADE
Shop around the scene nowadays and Gothenburg influenced crossover bands are a dime a dozen. Metal Blade, in particular, has cornered the market and gone over the top in its quest to sign a bunch of newer and younger bands.
The Classic Struggle might fall in this category if my ears drew a trajectory, but if so the South Carolina band is surely at the heavier end of the spectrum occupied by the likes of The Black Dahlia Murder and As I Lay Dying. The quintet has a sharp guitar sound, a capable singer and a precise snare sound - though the clicky bass drums disappoint - and goes about its deathrashing with a tight sound that is surprising for a band that was only an idea three years ago. The hyperspeed locomotive is peppered with slow and heavy growl fests from time to time. The Forgotten End encapsulates this mix, Claim Your Own really exposes the Gothenburg influence and, the modestly named, It's Not About Breaking Hearts, It's About Breaking Faces is really about showing the band's capability, interesting riffs and cool drumming.
This album is a classic struggle between a band that has its heart in the right place, but needs to be less at the trough of its idols and more about pulling off an identity of its own in the sty. - Ali "The Metallian"