Sound: Rezistor is one of the newest Romanian thrash metal bands; they formed in 2008, and released their first album in 2011. Check them out at Rezistor.go.ro or Myspace.com/rezistorro.
The guys describe their style as "thrash seasoned metal". Seasoned with what, you might ask? Thrash metal, groove metal, hardcore, a bit of punk, the influences are there. One can hear some Pantera and even Sepultura on this record, especially when it comes to the singer. Some of the riffs seem to be inspired by the Bay-Area thrash metal bands, such as Slayer and Exodus. Rezistor plays the classic 80's thrash metal with an extra "21st century" edge, while still retaining influences from the 90's metal bands.
The riffs are chunky, groovy at times, but nonetheless heavy and tight, throughout the whole album; most of the tracks are fast-paced, but my favorites are mid-tempo, being more headbang-oriented, in my book.
As the band members explain, when played live, the songs should sound as on the album; "Beware The Silent" has a raw old school sound, without any modern processing, yet still maintaining sound clarity and crispiness. It is stripped off of any "gimmicks" or unnecessary displays of virtuousness - and that's exactly what Rezistor promises to deliver: "raw, but effective tunes for the mosh pit".
The album contains only 8 tracks, but no fillers, summing up around half an hour. This could be a drawback, because in no time, you already find yourself listening to the last riffs of track 8, and you have no other choice but to play again the CD from the beginning! // 9
Lyrics: To quote the band once again, "Beware The Silent" is Rezistor's response to the society we live in: "one governed by corrupted laws that chain the individual and alienate him from the fundamental human values. It is feeding on the dark energy boiling deep down inside each individual forced to obey unjust rules and punished for not blindly conforming to a shallow and artificial grey society."
This "individual" gives the name of the album, "Beware The Silent". One can consider it a "concept album", given that all the tracks tell the story of that individual; the songs show his state of mind and inner struggles, up to the point when he breaks down (see track "For You").
The first song is "Go Away". The main influence seems to be Slayer, the aggressive intro being inspired by "Silent Scream", off the "South Of Heaven" album. Both verses repeat, being split by a very imperative and aggressive chorus. In the first part of the stanzas, they create a "call and response" relationship between the singer and the guitar. The chorus is followed by a breakdown, a clear influence of hardcore punk. In the end of the song, the tension accumulated is released, leading to an abrupt end.
"Enough" is the second track on this album; instrumentally speaking, it seems to be related to the first track, only heavier. The heavy, chuggy sound seems somewhat inspired from Exodus of the 90', especially on the highly-criticised (but an all-time classic in my book), "Force Of Habit". The antiphony ("call and response" relation) is still present; the main riff is pretty catchy, as well as the E-G-A chord progression in the pre-chorus. These elements in particular give an "old-school" flavor to the track, making it one of the catchiest on the album. The lyrics refer to the Romanian oppressive society and political system. Note that Romania is a former communist country, this being reflected in the Romanians' shallow, dumbed-down way of thinking, and the oligarchy that still dominates the political landscape: "The good of many is paraded /To protect but just a few / The situation's aggravated / By another law, one new".
The third song is called "Unbound". It is the only track to feature a solo; this 2-part solo is definitely inspired by Slayer, especially when it comes to the outro tremolo abuse; the double bass pedal has an important role in the songs, but here, it really kicks in during the chorus; the riffs are solid, but this song is not the catchiest. The lyrics refer to the inner struggles, helplessness, and the desperate try to remain sane.
The next track, "For You", shows the same individual, even more furious and boiling with anger; this song stands out thanks to the more aggressive, growling, death metal-oriented vocal style. Instrumentally speaking, "For You" sounds like a sequel to "Unbound"; the tension is gradually building up from the mellow bass intro, followed shortly by the solo guitar, and then by the galloping drums. The tempo changes, from the slower, sludge-oriented tempo from the verse section, to the thundering death metal-inspired riffs before the chorus. This song also features a slower guitar-bass interlude, only to be followed by the same double pedal pounding and an abrupt ending. While it may not be the catchiest tunes on the album, it's nevertheless one of the most aggressive, and thus, worthy to mention.
Song no. 5, "Beware The Silent", which named the album, is maybe the most representative for the "story" (no sh-t!). The lyrics focus on the character's monologue, scheming a revenge plan. It may be an allusion to events such as the "Columbine High School Massacre", that's the way I see it. The lyrics are darker and bleaker, compared to the other tracks on the album. If until now, Slayer and Sepultura seem to be the main stylistic influences, on "Beware The Silent", this time the sound seems inspired by Pantera, from the chunky, groovy riffs, to the singer's attitude and performance. It is one of the best songs for headbanging and breaking bones in the moshpit, thanks to the moderate tempo, and general badass sound of the song. For some reason, the tight drum work reminds me of Vinnie Paul performing with Pantera, and that adds points to the final score. The outro is dominated by the same double-pedal relentless abuse as we are already accustomed. Another good song on this album, in my book.
My favorite track on this release is the 6th, "Never Say Never". The lyrics until now have shown the introspective side of the band; "Never Say Never" addresses the listener directly, and instigates him to rebel, to take attitude against the oppressive system. The modern approach up to this point is about to stop; this tune consists of 4 minutes and a half of raw old-school Bay-Area thrash metal flashbacks. The guitarist simply shreds the crap out of his instrument! The intro is inspired by Slayer's "Disciple" or Metallica's "The Shortest Straw", while the rest of the song sounds like a "...And Justice For All" tribute, with a 21st century "flavor", so to speak. The breakdown following the 2nd chorus reminds me of Testament's "Electric Crown", and the chorus is maybe one of the catchiest off the whole album. A hell of a tune, you may say? Well, not quite; after a good chunk of tight, shredding riffs, a solo would've completed the song, in my book. The solo ain't there, and at least for me, it leaves "Never Say Never" almost unfinished. 9 out of 10, for this reason; nevertheless, it may be one the most representative tunes for Rezistor.
The 7th track on "Beware The Silent" is called "Vice"; it refers to addiction, possibily of drugs. During the last verse, "There are several things we need in life / Is life a must or is it really a vice?" twists the whole idea of the song. The way I interpret it, life, as drugs, at a certain point could be too much to bear. If it weren't for the lyrics - instrumentally speaking - this track would've sounded pretty "happy", if I may say. "Good Friendly Violent Fun", to put it straight! To describe the instrumental performance, the word to be used is "catchy". Antiphony is present once again; the guitar parts which alternate with the vocals and drums during the verse, are tied together by a groovy, laid-back bassline, more present than on other songs. The mini-solo is split by a chorus, before the drummer goes berserk again on the double pedal and drum rolls. Yet again, another solid track on this album, in my opinion.
"De Partea Mea" (in translation "By my side") is the only song on the album performed in Romanian, the band's native language. The same as "Never Say Never", the lyrics are addressed directly to the audience; if only one of the songs on the album should be considered "antisocial" and anarchist, "De Partea Mea" would be my choice. It's a pity that only Romanians can understand the lyrics, but it's a nice tune to get your a-s kicked on, anyway. In my opinion, "De Partea Mea" would be most successful in a live performance; the chorus is short, punchy and very catchy. The band actually invites to shout along with the singer, who does a great job screaming from the top of his lungs, by the way. If "Vice" may be representative for the band's musical style, "De Partea Mea" represents Rezistor's philosophy. // 10
Overall Impression: So, what does "Beware The Silent" mean: 8 kick-a-s tunes, riffs summing up 30 years of thrash metal, from the 80s and 90s thrash, to the Pantera-ish grooves and shredding riffs of Slayer, Kreator or Sepultura... This album has it all. Except solos, or a more satisfactory album length. The latter can be easily ignored, because you can always play the album from the beginning.
I strongly recommend "Vice", "Never Say Never", and "Enough", but the other 5 tracks kick a-s as well.
This album was distributed for free by the band, in a limited edition of 100 copies, and I was lucky enough to grab one. They haven't signed yet with a major label, but they might just have a future on the metal scene.
"Beware The Silent" is welcomed in the Romanian thrash metal genre, since this genre is not very promoted in this country. It is also one of the most notable releases I have recently listened to. As a debut album, it kicks a-s like no other! Deserves a score of 9 out of 10. Listen to it, you won't regret! // 9