By Jason Wellwood
Aggressor do their damnedest not to sound like anyone else. It would be easy to label the band ‘thrash’ so that readers would know what to expect without listening, but that would be selling the band short. There is an obvious dedication to heavy music of all sorts within Aggressor’s song writing, thrash is the most prevalent sound perhaps, but definitely not the only one. Aggressor have taken the sound of early 80’s thrash, added a few dashes of traditional metal and a twist of 90’s alternative to make Beyond All Reckoning an exceptional piece of Canadian metal. ‘What is Me’ and ‘Justice Lost’ set the overall tone for the album: galloping tempos, duelling guitars, gruff vocals, and groove. In fact the thing about Beyond All Reckoning that stands out the most is that no matter how fast and heavy the songs get, there is an obvious groove to everything. The break at about three minutes in to ‘Unto The World’ is a perfect example.
‘More To Discover’, a balladesque track, has a spoken dedication to Mike Alexander, the bass player for Evile who passed away suddenly in 2009 that, combined with the feel of the song, raises goose bumps. Moody as hell, the song starts off with a beautiful acoustic intro which leads to heavy alternative feel and into some galloping thrash to finish things off. A ballad, yes, but not one that will be getting many folks slow dancing! By the time you get to ‘Redemption’ there is almost nothing that the Aggressor could throw at you that would surprise you, but the song not only features the heaviest vocal on the album, it also turns some of the sharpest corners of all the songs, complete with a chugging hard rock riff and amazing guitar solo that stops on a dime to finish the song that leaves you feeling like maybe you need to play the album again. And again.
Beyond All Reckoning is a solid album throughout, and the fact that you can’t completely pin down the sound of Aggressor is exactly what makes them so good. This is an album best experienced beginning to end, though you couldn’t go wrong picking any one track to listen to. For my money, that’s the mark of a great album.