Release DetailsLABEL Chavis Records
RELEASED ON 4/15/2005
Good & Evil
posted on 10/2005 By:
No way. Dudes. This can’t be. A young group of guys form a thrash band and, gulp, actually play thrash metal? Seriously, I was beginning to think that new “thrash” bands were holding weekly meetings in the candy aisle at the local 7-11, laying down rules like thrash requires A) death vocals and B) excessive tough-guy posturing. I can’t remember the last time I reviewed a thrash album without thinking that it wasn’t thrash, but the time has come, apparently, and Python delivers a solid slab of exactly that with its first official release, an EP entitled Good and Evil.
The band hails from the same state that brought us Anthrax, so you know they come from a long line of thrashers. Brothers Joe and Kurt Holzapfel handle lead/rhythm guitar and drum duties, respectively, while Geoff Allen plays lead guitar and Ken Decker completes the band on bass. There’s no specific worshipping going on in this band, but point in the direction of any mid to semi-fast paced thrash band of the ‘80s and you’re likely to be justified in that comparison. To be honest, I was expecting a bit more. Not to say that this is a terrible release. It has its shining moments, such as the riff tossed about somewhere at the two minute mark on the EP’s final track, “Cursed,” but for the most part the album finds itself sinking in mediocrity, and that’s a dangerous position to be in, because you’re not bad enough to be mocked and at least within people’s conscience and not good enough to be championed. A thrash album’s excitement factor largely determines its value, for better or worse, and not more than two or three times did I find myself actually headbanging to any of this. The way Joe Holzapfel and Geoff Allen build a mood through subtle shifts in the layering of the opening to “Fallen Angel” is impressive, but after a minute it all kind of falls flat when the listener discovers that it was all a lead-in to a serviceable but nonetheless anticlimactic driving riff. The rest of the album falls into that same formula of a strong build into what is ultimately anticlimactic. Mid-paced thrash songs can make for good repeated listening, but succeed most often when there’s a hook.
On Exodus’s latest release, there’s a song called “Shudder to Think.” By any stretch of the imagination, it’s a simplistic clunker meant purely for headbanging. It doesn’t read as the most exciting song in the world, and it doesn’t sound like it either, but the chorus is so anthemic that one can’t help but return to it time and time again. Python needs to emulate that formula. It needs to find that instinct for addictiveness, whether it’s in the solos, which are pretty infrequent on Good and Evil, or in the hooks. There is no fucking doubt in my mind that these guys are capable of producing stellar music, as they’re all excellent musicians, but they need to find that happy place where hook and aggression meet. There’s a hint of that melody in one or two of the six tracks offered on the EP, especially in the chorus found in “The Un-Holy,” but until they reach a compromise of sorts, I’ll be watching from afar, encouraging one of the few young thrash bands without death vocals to keep playing thrash as it was meant to be played.
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