Perzonal War: Captive Breeding

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Perzonal War: Captive Breeding
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Perzonal War: Captive Breeding
Power Metal, Thrash Metal
Metalville Records
July 31st, 2012
Release length: 57:35
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Perzonal War is a Power and Thrash Metal group that comes to us from Germany. They have also existed since 1996, though chances are good you may never have heard of them. Their debut full-length album The Inside dropped back in 1998 following two demo recordings, and found a home through Gerhardt Records, one without much distribution power outside their home country. After that, they shifted to B-Mind Records for 2000’s Newtimechaos before signing with their long-term home of AFM Records for 2002’s Different But the Same. However, for 2012, they find themselves on Metalville Records to issue their seventh full-length effort, Captive Breeding. With plenty of mixed ratings behind them, finding low, mediocre, and high praises abound, does this recording have what it takes to make the band a “must know” act in the Metal landscape?

One of the pros to this recording is easily the production quality. The guitars have that traditional Thrash Metal distortion that is a mid-pitch edge that seems to have a little static on the line while pushed back in the mix slightly. The bass is present and quite dominant here, offering a fantastic contrast to the chords and helping to establish the infectious rhythms and aggressions found throughout. The highly noticeable and very deep sound resonates through the speakers nicely without drowning anything out. The same goes for the drum kit. The volume levels on all aspects are just right, finding cymbals that sound a little too loud, but end up having some additional noise on them because of it that works with the distance they come in at, some tight snares that sometimes have a strong echo to them, and a solid click to the bass kicks that stand out nicely. The vocals are podded up a bit more compared to the rest, which is just fine considering the largely cleaner vocal performance utilized. The range is wide and can even go into some harsher territories, all matching the somewhat stylish, yet very heavy modern production quality of the album.

There isn’t really anything new being incorporated to either the Power Metal or Thrash Metal style. Even the compositions themselves can find plenty of references and influences scattered about from other bands in and outside of their field, such as All That Remains and the others mentioned in this review. But, what the band does offer is really infectious and ultimately kick ass, headbang worthy material that is easy to get into, all while covering a nice spectrum of Metal in general. “The Last Day” is a heavily melodic piece that caters to the Power Metal style a bit, though undeniably has some Alternative Rock roots thanks to the slower performance with cleaner chords and a marching approach to the snares of the drum kit. When the music finally kicks in, things do take on a much lighter tone, feeding more into the mainstream appeal than anything else in a manner that Five Finger Death Punch is able to do, but still retaining enough heaviness to appeal to the Metal demographic. Prior to that you get a faster Shadows Fall style track called “Regression of the Art,” kicking things off by taking hold of the Thrash Metal idea and offering a somewhat commanding tone to the main passages, and a simpler, lighter chorus that works well with the driving material prior to it. The only gripe to be found here would be the lack of energy in the vocals to most of the song, but the performance is understandable considering the steady tone the music keeps.

But, those are far from some of the best the album has to offer. “Tongues of Cleavage” has a good deal of attitude behind it, as well as a stronger vocal performance to suit that more aggressive tone. The main passage carries a strong groove that will immediately have you banging your head along to it, especially the cymbals that happen to stick out a little more. The chorus is a little stronger and as equally aggitated, but powerful enough to add some extra edge to the involuntary neck spasms. “Termination” doesn’t quite live up to it, but this is easily one of the heaviest offerings despite the clean singing in the chorus. The music itself is a lot tighter with a focus on deeper material and faster riffs. It comes off a little more violent in comparison, hitting the listener hard with more of a traditional Thrash aggression behind it. There’s a breakdown towards the end that’s pretty good, but it does find the guitar coming through a little louder, and given the buzzing it has, this part isn’t that great until a little ways in when the music becomes richer, and the vocals have some digital alterations to have it cut in and out at a further distance. This approach appears again in “The End,” but a little more mechanical and closer to the forefront. It isn’t bad, giving it more of a harsher tone despite the chorus and guitar solo really ushering in a lighter atmosphere, again comparable to Five Finger Death Punch, but still with strong singing and catchy melodies.

As mentioned before, one of the biggest downfalls is that, while there is some range to the vocal performances, they don’t always have a lot of energy behind them. This does take away from the enthusiasm that the music itself has, especially when there is that additional emphasis in the singing to make the material a little memorable. But, there’s also the fact that not every song works out. “Lost” still has some infectious material that will have you banging your head along, but it largely hits during the chorus, as well as the passage before it. The main verse has that charging tone to it that “Tongues of Cleavage” had, but the snares don’t really match the rhythm of the guitar and bass, being slightly off and able to throw the listener more than you would expect as time goes on. There’s also “Unfailing System,” one of the shortest tracks, and for a good reason. The song itself is more of a Hardcore influenced offering, showing shades of Pro-Pain influence. While it’s not bad, it lacks any of the bite that the rest of the material had, and chances are good you’ll only bob your head along to it here and there, such as during the guitar solo.

In the end, Captive Breeding really isn’t anything new or unique, nor is it going to win any major awards. In all honesty, many naysayers in the Metal community may shrug this release off entirely, much like with the band’s previous recordings, due to the lighter material that does segway into the mainstream appeal at times. But, there’s really no reason to. What Perzonal War brings to the table is some solid music that never feels forced, bland, or like filler material. What you have is a nice mixture of various influences thrown together in a simpler formula that is chock full of infectious rhythms and melodies while stil boasting enough attitude to satiate the modern Metal fan. With plenty of memorable experiences, and very few that will leave you head stationary during the fifty plus minutes of its existence, this becomes a modern day headbanging anthem for anyone just looking for something to throw in and have a good time with, but without the cheeky sarcasm and b-movie or tv references. Anyone who can’t leave their prejudgements of Metal’s ability to be accessable while still maintaining a hard hitting edge need not apply, but anyone looking for something enjoyable for any time and any state of mind you might be in should give Captive Breeding a spin on-line and see if it’s something worth your time.

01. Regression of the Art – 4:04
02. Tongues of Cleavage – 3:52
03. Dead Man’s Theories – 4:14
04. Incarnation – 4:52
05. The Cocoon – 5:40
06. The Last Day – 4:07
07. Lost – 4:06
08. Unfailing System – 2:52
09. Tearing the Old – 4:52
10. Termination – 4:26
11. The End – 3:36
12. Candor Hurts – 5:38
13. My Fate – 5:14
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Perzonal War (Band)
Perzonal War (Logo)
Digital review copy of this release provided by Metalville Records via Freeman Promotions.