"Dead Precedence" (Power Play Records; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

When you slide a CD into your player from a band you've never heard before, you really have no idea what to expect. Sometimes the album cover will give you an clue; sometimes not. But the possibility of being surprised ... either pleasantly or otherwise ... always exists.

Honestly, because I had missed Shatterpoint's previous EP, "Consequences" and had never heard the band before, I assumed the CD would be more in the vein of power metal. This was based solely on my initial feelings about the impressive (and very professional) album cover art. I would have been happy with power metal, by the way, but what I found instead was even better.

Shatterpoint's "Dead Precedence" is fifteen tracks of raging metal in the vein of Fear Factory, The Haunted and other aggressively powerful bands of the same ilk. The guitars are the main force here, delivering blistering riffs and fiery lead bursts that drive each song forward with a slippery yet fully controlled fury. It's simply impossible to ignore the impact of the brilliant guitar work here. That isn't to say that the drums and bass aren't just as important. They are. Just listen to the entire band racing at full force during the last moments of the title track. It's enough to punch holes in the walls. Big holes.

Vocalist (and rhythm guitarist) Shane Drake has quite the range, delivering just the right level of "clean vocals" versus the raspier, growling sort. Don't get me wrong: Drake doesn't pull any Cannibal Corpse work here. Instead, his rougher vocals bring to mind a somewhat saner version of Pantera's Phil Anselmo.

I mentioned above that I missed the band's previous EP, "Consequences." Well, "Dead Precedence" solved that as well. The "Consequences" EP is included at the end of the disc as a set of four bonus tracks. These songs are as well-written and performed as anything else on "Dead Precedence," although the sound quality isn't quite as crystal clear.

Fans of fast, molten metal will be all over "Dead Precedence."

Shatterpoint: Shane Drake - Vocals and rhythm guitars; Greg Wright - Lead guitars; Chris Zeeman - Bass; Steve Mitchell - Drums.

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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.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:21 -0400.