Sound — 8
Let's not think about Tim Lambesis' crazy legal situation for a minute and instead enjoy being serenaded by some brutal metal and a Schwarzenegger impersonator.
Okay, I lied - I'm going to talk about Tim's legal situation for a minute. Tim has been fronting As I Lay Dying since they debuted in 2001, and has been working on his Schwarzenegger-themed side project since 2008. Tim was arrested for attempting to have his estranged wife murdered by a hitman in 2013. The hit man was actually an undercover cop. Initially Tim had claimed his innocence, but more recently he has plead guilty (February 2014) and will soon be sentenced - potentially for up to nine years in prison according to recent news reports. He did get bailed out long enough to finish making sure the third full-length release by Austrian Death Machine made it to the market. As in the past, several of the guitar solos are completed by various guest guitarists. The album was crowdfunded via the site IndieGoGo, with prizes for funding including workout tips from Tim, being able to punch him in the stomach as hard as you can, or having your initials tattooed on his butt. Sure, why not. While Tim has handled most of the instruments himself in the past, this album has JP Gericke (Death By Stereo) performing most of the rhythm guitar and bass guitar parts and Christian Bass (Heaven Shall Burn's touring drummer) performing almost all of the drum and percussion from the album. If you're worried about supporting a guy who was almost a murderer, then don't worry - the royalties from the album will all be going to World Vision Charity. There are 18 tracks on the album with a total runtime of just over 45 minutes.
The album opens up with the "soundcheck," which is titled "Neah 1, 2" which basically has Tim and "Ahhnold" in the studio doing vocal exercises. The first "real" track on the album is "I'll Be Back," which was co-written by John Boecklin from DevilDriver, and with the guitar solo performed by Wes Hauch from The Faceless. "Chill Out Dickwad" is up next with a little spoken intro by Ahhnold, and a guitar solo performed by Mark Macdonald of the band Mercury Switch. "Prepare to Be Conquered" was co-written by Dave Nassie of Bleeding Through, and also has guest vocals from Ash Avildsen, the founder of Sumerian Records. "One More Rep" is another track with a spoken intro by Ahhnold and one of the first times the word "gymspiration" is used on the album (it will be used a lot more). This track was co-written by JP Gericke, and has guest vocals by Jamey Jasta from the band Hatebreed, and a guest guitar solo by Dan Palmer, JP's bandmate in Death By Stereo. "I Hope You Leave Enough Room for My Fist" was co-written with Tim's bandmates from As I Lay Dying, Jordan Mancino and Josh Gilbert. The guitar solo was provided by Chris Storey, the ex-guitarist for All Shall Perish. "Pumping and Humping" was co-written by "The Main Event" - Lorenzo Antonucci, the ex-guitarist of Sworn Enemy. Lorenzo also provided guest vocals, while a guitar solo was contributed by Sean Swafford of the band Aenimus. "Crom (Grant Me One Request)" has a guitar solo provided by Doc Coyle from the band God Forbid. This track has a lyrical outro by Ahhnold, mostly using themes from Conan. "I Eat Green Berets for Breakfast" is co-written by JP Gericke. "Acting Advice" is just a fun little skit track with Ahhnold giving Tim advice on acting as an extra in his next film. "You Lack Discipline (There Is No Bathroom)" was co-written by Tim's bandmate from As I Lay Dying, Josh Gilbert. "I Know Now Why You Cry" was co-written by Ryan Glisan from Pyrithion and Allegaeon, while guest vocals were provided by Jon Cooke from Winds Of Plague. "I Lied" was co-written by Alexander Dietz from Heaven Shall Burn, and the drums/percussion are performed by Brandon Trahan from Impending Doom. "Brutolics" is a spoken track by Ahhnold talking about the concept of brutal metal. "Get Your Story Straight" plays off a lot of the lines from the "Total Recall" movie, but I had a much harder time finding information on this track as there were some changes to the album's tracklisting at some point. "Brutal Recall" is a spoken track which includes Ahhnold beat-boxing and rapping. "I'm Not a Pervert" has a guitar solo provided by Jason Suecof from the band Capharnaum, but probably more well known for his work as a songwriter and producer for Trivium. The album closes out with "It's Turbo Time" with a guitar solo added by Mark MacDonald. There is a cool little part with the track ends and Ahhnold is like "What the hell's wrong with you, you forgot the guitar solo, you idiots! Play it, play it now!" and the track comes back with a quick solo.
Lyrics — 8
You have to appreciate this album for what it is, which is a metal comedy project. While a lot of the vocals are very good, the constant ridiculous Ahhnold contributions make it hard to take this serious, but who says you have to take this stuff seriously to enjoy it? The various guest vocalists do a great job, but they all take a back seat to Ahhnold's vocals. As a sample of the lyrics, from the track "Prepare to Be Conquered": "I found your sister dying and knew you needed help/ so I trailed behind you to keep you safe/ until I know we can destroy the talisman/ but you keep pushing me away/ If you yield only to a conqueror/ then prepare to be conquered/ stop holding yourself back because of a vow you took/ I will win your heart after I win this fight." Then, in the Ahhnold voice you get: "This is a love story to my beautiful Sonya/ I confess my love to you/ Oh how I want to run my fingers through your glorious red mullet right now/ Listen to these serenading guitars and admit what is in your heart." Yeah, this is an entertaining album.
Overall Impression — 8
It is probably good that they cut the track "Consider Dat A Divorce" from the album, which is a track based around killing his wife in the movie "Total Recall." Especially considering the time frame that these songs were being written and recording. Bad mojo. Anyway, if that song had been included it supposedly had a guitar solo performed by Rusty Cooley and guest vocals by Scott Lewis of Carnifex. At the end of the day, the album is hugely entertaining for at least a few listens. It starts to get stale after that, but honestly that is more part of the nature of the project than anything that could be blamed on the people involved. My favorite track would probably be "Prepare to Be Conquered" almost exclusively because of the heartfelt vocals by Ahhnold. This is a fun album, and for a "comedy" album the songwriting and performance on each and every instrument is top notch. If the lyrics and "Ahhnold" vocals were removed and replaced by more serious or even less "niche" lyrics, this would be a strong metal release next to most the contemporary releases I've seen this year.