It Was Predestined
posted on 12/2008 By:
Remember Maelstrom? They formed back in 1988. And that’s about it. All ball-bustery aside, Maelstrom have reentered the power/thrash metal ring with exhumed material from their two demo recordings in this, It Was Predestined, their first bit of anything in seventeen years. I’m trying desperately to keep that fact in mind, because I’m seriously left wondering why on earth a label wouldn’t have picked them up if they played this well many moons ago. Unless these guys had to upgrade their chops by leaps and bounds in order to get this far, seventeen years later, this would’ve been some really gritty shit that could’ve given Iced Earth a run for their money. Of course, without the source material, I’m just shooting in the dark and the Maelstrom boys may be getting an undue fellating from yours truly.
It Was Predestined features a boatload of clean guitar wankery, not that Maelstrom are unable to hold their own on riffs alone. “Arise” has a catchy, heaving melody that’ll yank you right out of your seat, “A Futile Crusade” plays the more brooding, reserved card on the record, and “Predestined” sets itself up as the speed demon. There’s not an anthem or a ballad to be heard, which is a relief as those can go awry at the drop of a hat. Every instrument is clear as crystal, and the high bass in the mix gives this EP a fuller sound. However, It Was Predestined has but one mark against it, and that is the sporadic and bizarre vocal style.
These vocals don’t kill the song, they more or less litter the song in clean/dirty spurts of madness. I can certainly appreciate what they’re going for here, as I’ve not heard a style quite like this employed in ornate power-thrash, but in many instances, Maelstrom could rely less on the vocals and more on the shred. “A Futile Crusade” devours itself with some of the vocal progressions, particularly on the cleaner cuts, and nothing stifles the effectiveness of anything remotely power metal quite like ineffective clean vocals. But hey! The music is still great, and if you can excuse some ridiculous vocal passages here and there, you too could enjoy the Maelstrom experience. It Was Predestined is a flattering combination of old school and new school power, and it works surprisingly well.
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