Chain Reaction- Cutthroat Melodies

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, February 6, 2011

Whenever a band labels themselves as “modern metal” it can send people running, because sometimes that means that their actual sound is nowhere close to what is considered metal. But Poland’s Chain Reaction seems to be one of the few that can actually justify this label. On their sophomore effort Cutthroat Melodies the group offers modern day groove/thrash metal but manages to do it in such a way that they sidestep some of the issues that the genre has run into in recent years.

Groove metal seems to have become a blanket term for bands that have a more mainstream edge in recent years, but many people seem to forget that when done right the genre can mix some mainstream elements with technical guitar work and not be a complete bore. Chain Reaction’s instrumentalists appear to understand this, as while they have choruses that occasionally have a hard rock tinge to them there are also plenty of moments where the riffs display a lot of technical ability and grab your attention. As one might expect from this genre, by the end of the album some of the songs have started to sound similar to one another but the fact that Cutthroat Melodies actually has some distinguishing elements makes it stand above much of its competition.

The majority of the vocal arrangements are a mix of gruff clean singing and screaming, and sometimes the two styles blend together to form a slightly distorted clean style. It’s sure to remind listeners of bands such as Shadows Fall, and Chain Reaction’s lead singer Barton is at a similar level when it comes to staying in tune and offering the level of energy that you would expect. While this vocal style has never been my favorite, I realize that there are a lot of people out there who feel differently and if you’re one of them then I would highly recommend checking this release out.

Groove/thrash metal is a genre that I’ve become extremely critical towards in recent years because there is so much junk out there, so it is nice to find a band that actually has some technical ideas and doesn’t seem to be following the stereotypical mold. Chain Reaction isn’t one of my favorite metal groups just yet, but they have more potential than most and are worth listening to. Oh, and there are a million bands out there with this name so make sure you look for the one from Poland when seeking out Cutthroat Melodies.

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by Kolony Records

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