Condemned?: Condemned 2 Death

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Condemned?: Condemned 2 Death
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Condemned: Condemned 2 Death

Crossover Thrash, Hardcore, Punk

Nuclear Blast Records
March 8th, 2011
Release length: 33:20
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Formed back in 1983 under the name Condemned2Death, eventually shifting to the name Condemned?. As time went on with the band, they eventually disbanded, and went on one hell of a lot hiatus. Counting from their last full-length effort (according to the label’s band discography page) being release in 1987, the band roughly hit a roughly twenty four year silence before their next release, Condemned 2 Death. While the label boasts that the band hasn’t let time slow them down or hold them back, it’s a statement that one can’t help but question. So, after all this time, does this Crossover act still have what it takes to kick some serious ass?

Condemned 2 Death isn’t one of the most impressive Crossover Thrash/Hardcore releases to ever be released, but given the time the band took off, it’s not a bad start, though some rust does remain on the gears. There are plenty of great songs on here that have a nice combination of both Punk and Thrash, though there’s definitely more Punk and Hardcore then Thrash on plenty of these songs, and it leads to some rather catchy tracks. “Big Time Game Hunting” kicks the album off with a nice start, being a solid faster then mid-tempo track that doesn’t necessarily do anything that special, but is done with ease and really comes off as a fun Crossover assault with a heavy Punk influence and some great two-step going on that will make any Punk or Hardcore fan immediately start kicking up some dirt. Things do start to shift a bit when the song “Thoughts of Equality” kick in, being a more Punk oriented track, especially in the chorus which features a harmonized vocal performance, but sadly it just doesn’t work and sounds off key with the notes being played. Luckily this winds up being the only time such an attempt is really made.

The pace of the music starts to slow down a bit after that track, and many of the songs that follow just go at a traditional mid-tempo pace that feels a little upbeat with Punk attitude, varying between a chugging approach or a traditional Punk/Hardcore two-step style, though some songs are a little more erratic, like “Cavern in Mind” which has the music being performed in a rather technical early Thrash manner, stepping up the attitude and heaviness a bit, and continuously shifts between that approach, which is common through the versus, a much faster chorus, and then a slower bridge as well. Another track that kind of stands out on it’s own is “Cleansing Pool”, a rather simple track that seems to go into a more Sludge, Southern-inspired setting with a slower, Groovey pace. The song is far from bad, but in a way it’s not one of the strongest tracks on here, coming off a little repetitive after a while, and of course being just over three minutes without much variety to it in the way of music. However, the pace picks up again to a much faster track with “Ocean”, which again feels a little more eratic like “Cavern in Mind”, just without the really slow bridge with guitar solo, and a much shorter song, being a minute and twenty six seconds in length, letting go before overstaying it’s welcome.

Condemned 2 Death also features a decent amount of energy behind it, which really solidifies the material on here. Given the time the band was originally around, it only makes sense that they would continue to play a similar sound to it, though at this point it’s nothing too impressive or particularly original due to the many bands that followed, and the recent Thrash revival around the time of this release. But, there’s just no denying that Condemned? still have the attitude that once had, and that the material here is still enjoyable and catchy, though quite at the point of infectious yet. The only drawback is that it feels the music is being restrained a bit, and it shows on many of the mid-tempo songs. Even on “D-Day” which is a superb track, going along at a mid-tempo and bringing in an aura of Horror Punk with catchy music, but at the same time it feels like there could have been more done with it. The only other fault isn’t necessarily one that hinders the release, but is something many will pick up on due to how similar the chords are. The closing track, “When Worlds Collide”, is a suiting end to the album, ending it on the same kind of note it startede with on “Big Time Game Hunter”, but at the same time, fans of the old cartoon show Freakzoid will pick up the chorus as a more Crossover reiteration of the lyrics and tempo of that song, just clearly not with the original lyrics, and will be a random thought in the back of your head. And, well, if you heard it and that wasn’t in the back of your head, chances are good it is now.

The band definitely hasn’t lost their edge over all these years. The material on Condemned 2 Death is quite enjoyable, and most of it typically follows the same musical path. Some come off as being a little too simple at times for Crossover standards, but in the long run it makes a nice new CD from the band due to it’s catchy music from start to finish, and very few songs on here that will make you turn away. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check this band out, or even don’t know who they are, especially since the band’s hiatus was so long in the first place, it’s well worth checking out, especially if you happen to be a fan of Crossover Thrash. Condemned? are back, and while they don’t bring the most attitude with their music, what they bring is solid Crossover Thrash, Hardcore, and Punk music that will rock you to the core.

01. Big Time Game Hunter – 2:41
02. Aggressive System – 1:22
03. Thoughts of Equality – 3:58
04. Practicing for War – 1:46
05. Crutch – 0:38
06. Anti-Social – 2:35
07. Cavern in Mind – 2:57
08. Crucified – 2:28
09. Emotional Blurr – 3:26
10. Cleansing Pool – 3:06
11. Save Thy Brother – 2:57
12. D-Day – 0:47
13. When Worlds Collide – 3:16
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Condemned (band)
Condemned (logo)Digital review copy of this release provided by Nuclear Blast Records.