1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Relentless Reckless Forever (Audio CD)
Although my 4 star rate might indicate otherwise, I have some points on which I disagree with the two reviews that have been written here on COB's latest release so far. I'll run down the album track by track, but let me please at first note one thing which has always been annoying me about COB albums: The fact that they are much too short for metal releases. "Relentless Reckless Forever" like its predecessors is no exception and takes only 36 minutes. That may be alright with punk bands, but not with metal bands. In this regard, COB are definitely far below average. Ok, but let's judge the album from the musical point of view:
1. "Not my funeral" indeed starts with a riff similar to the one kicking off the "Follow the reaper" album (although it was published in 2000, not in 1999). But apart from that, the songs don't have much in common. The keyboard dominance from the first three albums is gone although Janne Warman still makes his contributions to the unique COB sound. The chorus is pretty cool and at the beginning of the fantastic solo part there are really nice in unison guitar/keyboard lines. The song in general shares features with most recent albums, but not so much with the old ones.
2. "Shovel Knockout" is one of my favourites on the album. Excellent musicianship, and I have always liked the way how drummer Jaska Raatikainen gives even more effect to the guitar riffs by his double bass drumming. Unlike the first reviewer I really like the contrast between the blast part of the first chorus and the second part when the keyboards join in with a bone-chilling string sound. Fantastic! The constant changes of harmony in that part and the following guitar solo part are also remarkable. The guitar and keyboard solos are flawless...or let's say almost. The last note (building up a sixth if I'm not mistaken) in the parallel keyboard solo part (at 3:16) irritates me and seems to be misplaced. But that's maybe too fussy...
3. "Roundtrip to Hell and Back" one of the strongest tracks on the album, one of their best ever songs, one of the best metal songs of all time??? Sorry, never ever!!! It's just a compilation of all their mid-tempo songs from former albums (such like "Angels don't kill", "Punch me I bleed", "Banned from heaven"), with slightly more speed (more in the Moderato than in the Andante tempo), and that exactly is the explanation why "Roundtrip to Hell and Back" does not last 5 minutes like most of the above mentioned songs, but only 3:46. In addition, there is nothing special at all about the song, boring from the beginning to the end. The keyboard solo at the end undoubtedly is nicely played, but the ritardando at the end reminds me too much of the ritardandos at the end of all the twin songs.
4. "Pussyfoot Miss Suicide" is everything but a forgettable track. I can't see where the song is the alleged thrash-fest. Great riffs, very accentuated, gorgeous solo interaction between Alexi and Janne, and the typical COB sound in the chorus with a melody played in unison between guitar and keyboards.
5. "Relentless Reckless Forever": There is nothing else to say in addition to the review of Dave Hall. Exceptionally, I completely agree with his opinion ;-). My favourite song together with "Shovel Knockout" and "Ugly".
6. "Ugly" is maybe the most innovative song on the new album although it's still in line with the stuff they had done before. It starts with a galloping riff that is built up gradually until you can't to anything else but bang your head to the double bass flow. After that the song surprisingly turns into a ¾ time signature, I would call it an odd time signature for COB. But I like it very much! The chorus is great, and so are the solos although the guitar solo is not so much based on tempo but on melody, not the worst choice indeed!
7. "Cry of the Nihilist" is a very good song without being excellent. The mid-tempo riff at the beginning always reminds of Metallica riffs although I cannot say why let alone prove it. The coolest passage of the song starts at 1:40, again a template for how the drummer can effectively contribute to the overall result. The solos which follow are in the best COB vein.
8. "Was It Worth It?" had already been available on youtube for some time before the official release of the album. After the first listening I thought it would rather fit on the 2009 COB cover album "Skeletons in the Closet", but it really is their own work. And somehow I like it. A driving shuffle rhythm, catchy guitar riffing, excellent keyboard sounds and odd, but very good solos.
9. "Northpole Throwdown" definitely is the fastest and heaviest, but also the shortest song on the album. In the view of the other critics it seems to be one of the weaker songs. But why? The verses with their staccato guitar/keyboard riffing are addictive, the solos are superfast and full of strange guitar sounds (that's what I like from time to time in Alexi's solos). And the drum fill leading into the solos is so simple, but just fantastic at the same time: starting with 16th notes on the snare drum and then doubling them with 16th notes on the double bass. Wow! It might depend on the taste of the listener, but I like this song very much. Funny thing about it: It's the only song of which the lyrics are not included in the booklet.
Résumé: Before writing this review, I was convinced that this was one of the weaker COB albums. But actually it's not. By examining the music in more detail, I realised that there is much too discover and that there are many nice neat little ideas that make this album a special one. But unfortunately, "Roundtrip to Hell and Back" is pulling the album down, and that's why I can't award five but only four stars. Nevertheless, highly recommendable!