Requiem Mass - Shattered Destiny (independent) 2001
Requiem Mass are an independent band that I have seen several times. I have seen them open for bands like Testament and Suicidal Tendencies as well as perform with another well known band from Albuquerque, Ultimatum. Their self produced CD is of very high caliber and was produced at the same studio as Ultimatum's "Puppet of Destruction." The music is aggressive thrash metal. The band has some obvious influences (ie. Pantera, Sacred Reich & Sepultura) but they are not trying to directly copy anyone, I just think the influences are there. Of couse this is true of any band. The musianship is tight, but what sticks out to me is the awesome drum work. "Shattered Destiny" is a good CD for fans of crunchy, creative and technical thrash metal. Order a copy from the band's web site at: www.requiemmass.homstead.com.
Requiem Mass - Another Vicious Cycle (independent) 2003
1. "Fall Short of
the Meaning" (3:26)
Yet another fine, speedy metal platter from Requiem Mass. It's really a shame that good bands like this cannot find a decent label to back them up, while pure crap is being pushed to the masses. Perhaps this album would have been better name "Another Vicious Assault" "Another Vicious Cycle" is more of the same vicious metal assault that was unleashed with "Shattered Destiny". "Fall Short of the Meaning" starts things off with a blistering thrash metal assault. The pummelling aggresssion really never lets up throughout the album, save for the occassional clean guitar part or when the guitars drop out so that the bass and drums can steal the show for a few seconds. Each and ever song features tons of speed, crunchy guitars, angry aggressive songwriting, and pounding double bass drums. The songwriting is a nice mixture of old school thrash metal mixed with some more modern elements so that their sound is fresh, without sound like a carbon copy of some popular, mainstream modern metal band. As with their debut the skillful, technical drumming of Dax Lujan stands out. I also really like the vocal style. Occassionally the gritty, angry thrash vocals remind me of Kurt Bachman (ex-Believer) or Mille Petroza or Kreator. The only negative thing I have to say about this disc is that it didn't grab me on the first listen like their debut. The hooks are not as obvious. However, the song writing is strong enough that I wanted to listen again and again. Within a few listens I was hooked. Thrash fans would do themselves well to check these guys out.
"Redefine" is Requiem Mass' third independent release, and most certainly their best produced and probably their best musically as well. On "Redefine", Requiem Mass manage to combine equal parts Pantera groove, Sevendust/Disturbed modern rock/metal and some classic thrash influences as well. Heavy metal purists may frown upon some of the elements found in "Redefine". On this CD the band seems to have made a purposeful stride towards sounding more "modern". While they do write some good riffs and crank out some insane guitar solos, they also use the guitars as an effect at times, allowing the bass and drums to carry the song. This is especially true of some of the later songs like "Never Could" and "Kill Me". A couple of these songs feature a slappy, poppy bass style that I am not a big fan of. However the first three tracks are killer. Each song is a nonstop ball of intense energy. Even these songs use such things as samples and guitar effects, although they seem to really work in these songs. "End Game" features a fast old school thrash metal break right in the middle of the otherwise modern metal song. This track, along with the title track and "Misunderstood" are three of my favorite tracks on the album. "Redefine" and "Misunderstood" both have infectious riffs and some cool guitar effects, together with guitar riffs that would have made Dimebag proud. "Skin" sounds like something you might have heard from Disturbed or Sevendust. The song starts off with a tribal beat and builds to a melodic rocker. The lyrics to this song are quite bizarre. It seems like the song is about a obsessed lover/killer. "You're so beautiful, I knew when I saw you, you were the one, I want to wear your skin, feel you from within...no matter how I try you're with me everyday, this blood on my hands won't wash away." "Mass for the Dead" is another standout cut, although it too features some of that poppy bass work, although it's not nearly as distracting as in "Never Could". As expected, the drum work of Dax Lujan is outstanding. Listen to some of the complicated footwork in the first three tracks alone and see if it doesn't impress the worst skeptic. A new element to Requiem Mass is the smokin' lead work of Kris Schiffer. While the band has had some good guitarists in the past, Kris takes the band to a while new level. Cody Mintle's signature, nasty bark is ever present in all these songs. His voice is a bit one dimensional, but it works well for the band. As a matter of fact, I sort of prefer he stay that way. Cody has a street level style that works well for Requiem Mass. When he attempts to try something different, it doesn't come off as well. In "Scarred" for instance, Cody starts the song off with some clean vocals that just don't work as well as the more aggressive vox. The production on this disc is exceptional for an independent artist. I am sure if they had a bigger budget and more times there are some things that could have been improved, but as it stands, everything is heard crystal clear, yet they still have a mean, heavy sound. My biggest complaint with this disc is actually the sub-par artwork on the cover which looks a bit amateurish, as compared to the music. The cover art is dark, confusing and lacking the simple, pleasing elements that the first two CDs had. Also, the darn lyrics are printed so small in the insert you almost get dizzy trying to read them. Artwork aside, "Redefine" is a good listen, and one that has seen repeated listens from this fan.
Requiem Mass - The Cure (Warpad) 2009