"Reflections" (Century Media/Major Records)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Released in 1994, this solid effort from Germany's Accuser is a competent and enjoyable slice of modern thrash. Initially, the disc comes across as second-rate "Beg To Differ"-era Prong, but the same elements that made Metallica, Pantera, and Sepultura succeed are in copious helpings here. With each new spin "Reflections" grows on the listener.

While it would not be fair to fully classify Accuser as imitators, the songs are standard hard rock fare. However, Accuser's ability to execute the songs with flair and intensity goes a long way to establishing the charm of "Reflections." Accuser's solid riffs and decent hooks lift the material away from the initial impression of generic metal to a more impressive slab of metal.

The lyrics tend to deal with the harsh realities of life, the countless unknown problems and social ills that seem to affect us all indirectly or directly. Most of the lyrics are fairly straight-forward, but Accuser occasionally use metaphor to convey the meaning of the songs. There is a survivalist attitude that runs deep throughout the words. A sense of independence is present as the words "keep your fuckin' sympathy" sets the tone for the strength that the band draws from each other. Other lyrical topics deal with paranoia ("Manic Ride") the threat of racism ("Into The Void") resistance to authority ("The Jack Of All Trades") and the environment ("Burn!").

The music is not disappointing. The same elements of thrash that Metallica made famous are the fundamental building blocks of Accuser's musical repertoire. Which is not to say that Accuser are Metallica clones. The tone of the vocals is more of a gruff growl - it doesn't have the same appeal of James Hetfield's patented growl. Vocalist Frank sounds like a clone of Tommy Victor which only adds to the inevitable comparisons to Prong. "Misery," "Cowboy On A String," "The Jack Of All Trades," and "Manic Ride" all bristle with the same focused energy that Hetfield and company made so famous.

The best song is also the most complex. "Into The Void," not to be confused with the Black Sabbath song (or KISS song), is a well paced, pounding metal hymn that displays the band's melodic sense as well as it's ability to craft off-kilter piece that echoes classic metal riffs while the band puts its own stamp on the music.

"Reflections" was produced, recorded, and mixed by Alex Perialas. The production is very good; the disc sounds great. Each tune is clear and heavy. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to be a bit picky about the mix; a few things cannot escape my ears. The drum mix is a little too forward at times and the lead guitar is buried in the mix far too often - these little detriments are hardly cause for concern.

If you love old Metallica, any Pantera, late '80s Prong, and Sepultura the hard sounds of Accuser should be a sonic treat for you.  Unfortunately, most of the band's material is available only as imports for those of us Stateside.

Apparently last names are not a prerequisite for being in the band: Accuser is Frank, Volker, Guido, and Rene. 

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright ? 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
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