Anger as Art [USA]
Old School Metal Records
Formed from the ashes of speed metal powerhouse Abattoir, Anger as Art‘s Hubris Inc. is the band’s fourth full length release under the current moniker. This release boasts a track that was written back in 1984 and also a “new” track performed by an Abattoir lineup, and also numerous high profile guests such as Jim Durkin of Dark Angel fame, making Hubris Inc. an album that old school metalheads would look out for as well.
While Anger as Art is not too similar to the output of Abattoir‘s speed metal, the band’s years of cumulative experience definitely shines through on the material of Hubris Inc., with music that displays not only the individual band members’ technical flair on their instruments, but also in the ability to create and sustain various emotions and atmosphere in the music. Like many heavy metal vocalists, Steve Gaines’ aging is rather obvious, and while it may not be similar to his works on past Abattoir releases, the anger and fury is still present, and brings about comparisons to other respectable vocalists such as Loudness‘ Minoru Niihara with that slight raspy vocal quality. Evil You Create also sees him continually pushing his vocals to the limits, with the screams that mark the final moments of the song.
The energy is also infectious throughout the album, with the axe-wielding duo and the rhythmic section of bassist Angelo and drummer Rob working in unison to ensure that the listener‘s head never stops banging especially on tracks like Pieces of Red with the high octane music. Danny’s lead guitar lines in particular are notable, soaring and melodic at times yet not compromising any technicality. The band also constantly surprises the listener throughout the album, with various influences seeping out when least expected. For instance, Evil You Create starts off providing a false sense of calm before hitting the listener with some of the heaviest, most crushing riffs on the album, and the aggressive riffing style of Steve and Danny borrows some of the death metal aggression.
The whole host of guest musicians on the album also provide a rather ambivalent result. While Jim Durkin’s contributions are fit extremely tightly with the rest of Anger as Art‘s music, the main gripe that I had for the album was Betsy Bitch’s guest vocal spot on Rage and Retribution. Unfortunately, her style felt extremely out of place in the music, and caused the energy and aggression level of the music to drop, and for the most part of the track she sounded weak next to Steve’s vocal delivery and stuck out like a sore thumb, leaving one to wonder what made the band decide to have her appear as a guest vocalist in the first place.
For the most part though, despite the slight inconsistency at times, Hubris Inc. is largely an enjoyable release, and proves that Anger as Art still has it in them to write some of the most energetic and catchy thrash material.