Slave Zero - The Defiant Stand
Self Financed
Death influenced Thrash
9 songs (48:24)
Release year: 2002
Reviewed by Jay

Slave Zero is an Irish quartet. Their influences run the gamut from Metallica to Death to Iced Earth. This self release is one of the most professionally done I have ever seen. It has a pressed CD and full liner notes. I only wish the music held up as the packaging does. While the album is not without merit, it suffers from extreme mediocrity. Nothing here has not been done before. While metal is about repetition and building upon influences, these songs sound like mere copies rather than something that has been made anew.

The production is really amazing for a self financed though and the boys get major credit for this. Aside from the cymbal sound being a little too tinny and shallow, the recording is flawless. That said, I noticed several instances where the drums do not keep time with the band. The guitar riffs sound similar to early thrash bands like Testament, Slayer and Metallica while taking in the soloing ability of a band like Maiden or Iced Earth. In fact, there is a lot of Iced Earth influence on the songs “Once Was Human” and “When Science Turns to Hope.” The latter is quite amazingly well done for an unsigned band. I found it to be the best performance on the album. Nearly eleven minutes long and filled with multifarious parts and rhythms, it is a real metal epic. “I Defy” has a cool riff but the problem is that it has been heard before. It still rocks out. “Prejudice Breeds” sounds like a Slayer song circa Reign in Blood. The homology is there but Slayer probably pulls it off better. The vocals are quite good for death growls but I wonder what clean vocals in a slower song like this would sound like. There are times when even the hardest band (gore/black/brutal metal bands exempted) should consider putting some clean, melodic vocals into the song. The soloing here is pretty strong as well but they sound unoriginal. Very few bands can get away with the same solos over and over and Slave Zero is not one of them. More variation is definitely needed in this area.

A well calculated cover of Death’s “Zombie Ritual” keeps things moving at a swift pace that the late Chuck Schuldiner would be proud of. Keep and eye out for these guys. With a demo like this, it will not be long until a label takes notice. In the meantime, if they work on their songwriting, they can be masters. Technical skill is not everything. It does take some mastery of composition to put you over the top.

Killing Songs :
Once Was Human, When Science Turns to Hope
Jay quoted 63 / 100
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