Assassin: Breaking the Silence

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Assassin: Breaking the Silence
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Assassin: Breaking the Silence
Thrash Metal
SPV Records
March 22nd, 2011
Release length: 43:12
Myspace
Website
Assassin is one of those bands that portrays the dedication that people in Metal have towards their craft. The band has issued more demos then actual full-lengths on a record label. The band broke up around 1989 due to their equipment being stolen and having no money to replace it all. Not all of their material was received well by the Metal community either, and the line-up has gone through plenty of changes throughout the years as well. But still the band trudges on, and for that level of dedication you have to respect them. Breaking the Silence makes the group’s fourth full-length effort since forming back in 1983. But, does this level of dedication and drive make this fourth album any better then their past album that, except for their debut, haven’t really seen the most positive of remarks?

Breaking the Silence really doesn’t offer anything too new to the Thrash genre as a whole, and for the most part still feels like a group that is still in it’s infancy as far as the overall maturity of the group goes. The music seems to have a more simplistic approach to it, the main drive coming from the bass, while the other guitars take on a more Groove technicality to them when going at a slower pace. When the music picks up, the chords feel more fluid and nowhere near as choppy, and it sounds great. The chorus to “Raise in the Dark” is catchy as hell because of it, and really shows the arly Thrash influence that the band had grown up with. The vocals work for the album for what they are, and it’s the amount of energy that they bring to the recording that causes them to work. It’s hard to deny how similar they sound to the vocals used in any Gwar album, but typically feel like a more restricted pitch without being all over the place and off the wall at times like some of that band’s recordings can be to enhance the sarcasm in their music.

The production on the recording feels a little empty as well. The music doesn’t feel as rich as it should be, coming through the speakers as a more hollow experience, even with the bass cranked to maximum. While that does help to pull the bass forward and really add an additional layer that feels masked in a general playback setting on any device, the overall sound feels like it’s missing somethingw, which seems to really stem from the guitars. While the guitars sound good when the music picks up and the chords don’t quite feel as choppy, the backing guitar is practically inaudible at times, being only barely picked up when the lead guitar carries on and the background guitar is played really fast in the obvious gap of the leads. The solos are great, but even the distortion on them feels hollow. It’s like the album has no real bite to it, though the intensity can be present on plenty of tracks.

None of this is to say Breaking the Silence is a bad CD. While it does suffer from a lot of this, there’s still some solid tracks here that portray the best of earlier Thrash without feeling like you’re listening to some kind of revival CD or a reunion album. “Turf War” is a solid track that does leave behind some of the choppy guitar work, and “Destroy the State” is an energetic Thrash track, but the vocal performance comes off more like a Heavy Metal attempt then anything, as well as the chorus of the song. “Real Friends” also takes things into a slightly Crossover Thrash field with the music, being a little more light hearted too, though still retaining a decent amount of intensity to it, leaving behind some of the aggression that many of the songs on here have, and “Strike Back” features strong enough material with plenty of aggression that it would make even the most fickle Thrash fans head start bashing against the air without realizing it. Of course, the album closes with the fast and short “I Like Cola” that, once again, enters into a more Crossover Thrash vibe, taking on a light hearted lyrical premise along the line of “Kraf Dinner” by Annihilator. The only difference is that, while this song is interesting and meant to be more fun then anything, that’s about all it has going for it since the lyrics are simple and performed in an insanely irritating manner, and the music is just about as annoying, as well as all of it just seems to seriously overstay it’s welcome.

All in all, Breaking the Silence shows the band trying to really make up for lost time, and the earlier influences on their sound still rings true in their music. Ques from bands like Slayer and Exodus stand strong in the music, but the album just doesn’t really have that much of an impact, and that feels more the fault of the production then the actual music. Many of the songs have strong music, even when it becomes a bit choppy, but due to how hollow the recording sounds, it doesn’t feel rich enough and lacks a bite that will have the listener’s head banging along to songs that any metal fan would involuntarily start head banging to. This is so sad because the band clearly has the potential to really destroy the listener with some of the material on here. The dedicated fans of Thrash will definitely find more joy in this, but due to the lack of music that really has an impact on the listener. Tack on some songs early on that don’t necessarily put the band’s best foot forward and feel a little more generic then anything, and the insanely long and equally as irritating “I Like Cola”, and you have an album that had potential, but wound up being held back by too many faults, though mainly the production.

01. Breaking the Silence – 5:00
02. Raise in the Dark – 3:16
03. Judas – 3:12
04. Turf War – 5:23
05. Destroy the State – 6:10
06. No Fear – 4:00
07. Kill or Be Killed – 3:50
08. Real Friends – 3:27
09. Strike Back – 4:41
10. I Like Cola – 4:13
Overall Score: 6/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by SPV Records via Freeman Promotions.