originally written by Jim Brandon
It’s not so much the meat, it’s the motion, isn’t it? What you do with what you’ve got, whether you prefer to swing it around all willy-nilly, or focus it in one concentrated direction, your stroke will determine your satisfaction and success. I give points for effort here, but I have to deduct huge for originality in Blatant Disarray’s case. They’ve got some chops, they occasionally hit the spot, but there are times I have to wonder what they’re aiming for. Perhaps their muse is a bit antiquated, this Metallica by way of Trivium thrash expression is their way of doing business, but as we’ve seen, those shops are iffy when it comes to being taken seriously, or even staying open for very long.
The bitch of all this is that they almost seem genuine. There’s less trend here, and more authentic worship of all that gallops in tight triplicate. You can feel the spirit, but nothing here does any damage, and that makes a huge difference. Everyone Dies Alone shows a love of Bay Area thrash that I can’t help but appreciate, but it feels like they’re on this ride with training wheels and elbow pads. Scrape something. Bleed a little, for chrissake! It would also help to not follow the path of Stygian: Metallica’s frontman is not a good vocalist to be emulating, and we already have one Chuck Billy, so more often than not, this ends up sounding more Heafy than Hetfield. You’d think they would know this already.
I won’t pick out many individual songs, because they all can be summed up quite easily under this blanket, warm and secure. There are too many I’s pronounced like A’s, the flow is often interrupted by clumsy attempts at dynamic songwriting, like an oddly placed drum break, a clunky or hyperactive solo, or a transition into a chorus from out of nowhere. Hooks are everywhere, but the points are dull as all hell, nearly every single one of them. Aggression takes a backseat to groove, which would be fine if the grooves dug up some new ground. The technical talent is merely adequate, certainly not off-the-charts, and by playing it as safe and sterile as possible with this child-friendly brand of angsty bubblegum thrash, you can only barely hear their ability. Naming the lead-off track “Undetermined” should have been fair warning, yet everything I hear sounds very determined to recapture whatever lightning Trivium temporarily caught in a bottle, but in a much smaller container.
With so many throwback bands baring their teeth and brazenly gnashing their way through some legitimately killer classic 80’s influenced thrash, the need to own this record is negligible. But in a small way I do respect what this North Carolina four-piece are trying to do, I just see no reason why I should push anyone to spend money on such a soft, comfortable album, unless said consumer is already a die-hard thrasher who will flip over anything with a blueprint hook. As for me, I’m going to remove this tepid hook from my ear, so feel free to impale yourself on it if you’re in the mood for something occasionally decent, but not the least bit decadent.