At a time when the world at large is being fed a ton of bullshit by the mainstream corporate media, along come veteran thrash hard core four piece Criminal to wake up the sleeping masses. From beginning to end, Criminal's latest full length 'Fear Itself' grabs and shakes the living shit out of you, willing you to wake from the media induced hypnotic trance in which most of us still live. I open with this point as Criminal are a band with a lot to say. This much is obvious to me with tracks like 'False Flag Attack' and 'The Needle And Knife' that deal with misinformation as well as democide, and the obsession with looking beautiful respectively. The whole album is in essence an unadulterated attack on society's ills in the world today, with other topics covered such as exploitation. Criminal is putting the world to rights and doing a bloody honest and good job of it too.
Anton Reisenegger's vocal delivery cuts straight to the core with a sheer brutality that is equally matched by his riffage. Chilean guitar virtuoso Sergio Klein is on top form throughout, accompanied by deep and brooding bass licks of Dan Biggin (Danny B) and Zac O'Neil's controlled frenzy of thunder on drums. Extra kudos has to be awarded to Danny B for his signature crystal clear production at his Suffolk studio HVR, who incidentally produced an album I had the fortune to do vocals on called 'Light Years From Destiny' by 'Guardians Of Andromeda', way back in my days as a power metal vocalist, but I digress! HVR and Criminal have taken a 'no bullshit' approach to recording 'Fear Itself', eschewing the use of samples, amp simulators and quantizing, so in essence, what you get is the honest and organic product. Hats off to both!
I went into this review with the mind of being over critical and maybe being a little rough on Danny (as a jokey nod), but these guys have quite honestly done a bang up job. It may not be a regular play in my collection, but most certainly will not be collecting dust on my record shelf at anytime in the future. 'Fear Itself' is an essential listen... an essentially honest listen.
Words by Paul Clarke.