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The Berzerker are among the most appropriate bands to grace Earache Records, but these Australians have as many detractors as they do supporters in the metal world, which is to be expected since they're something of a gimmick band. Berzerker's sound is characterised by the mix of generic death metal, played at an impossibly fast speed thanks to drummer Todd Hansen, with elements of techno that mostly fail to impress and only serve to weaken the effect, but with their most recent release 'Animosity' it seems that the band is finally starting to expand its repertoire beyond relentless drum blasts, unintelligible vocals and stolen guitars riffs. Though it is still mainly that.
At only twenty-eight minutes this is perhaps mercifully short, and although all ten tracks inevitably sound pretty much the same, it still made for a more palatable listen than I expected. Hansen's drums are obviously the major selling point to technical music fans, as he can hit that kit at a phenomenal speed (allegedly nineteen times per second), but for me this doesn't make for entertaining music. Indeed, at points where Hansen goes all-out - particularly for much of 'False Hope' - it merely sounds to me like the CD's skipping. He can play fast, but he never varies his performance one bit, reminiscent of the way guitar legend Michael Angelo Batio could noodle his way around an unnecessarily X-shaped guitar, but created music that was absolutely abominable (he was in the band Nitro, for god's sake).
The electronic elements are similarly unappealing, mainly manifesting themselves as a distracting fuzz above the rest of the music in the opening song and most of the later tracks, probably at its most irritating in 'Evolution' when backed up by those CD-skipping drum beats. The only song that really works in this way is 'The Cancer,' which still suffers from the same problems of incompatibility, but at least seems like effort and thought has been put in, a rarity for this band as you can imagine. Other songs differentiate themselves a little too self-consciously through slower riff sections before the inevitable slip back into the same old speed and aggression, and it would be a lot more impressive if these riffs didn't all sound like they'd been selected from the popular death metal canon.
There's a special edition version that comes with an extra 'Live in London' CD with about twenty tracks on it, if half an hour of brain-smashing, endlessly repetitive blast beats weren't enough to satisfy you. You are strange.
1. Eye for an Eye
3. False Hope
5. No More Reasons
7. The Cancer
8. Weapons of War
9. Heavily Medicated
10. Lonely World
1.Eye for an Eye / 2.Purgatory / 3.False Hope / 4.Evolution / 5.No more Reasons / 6.Retribution / 7.The Cancer / 8.Weapons of War / 9.Heavily Medicated / 10.Lonely World