I’m not sure what the consensus is on track-by-track reviews of albums these days, but given that Roadrunner’s God of War: Blood and Metal EP – a soundtrack to the latest installment of the popular video game – features six songs by six different artists, it seems only fair to give each song its due, rather than consider the release as a cohesive whole. And so, without further bullshit:

  1. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, “MY OBSESSION” – Sorry to be lazy, but I just wrote about this song on Friday, so I’m going to re-print what I said then: “I’m really running out of things to say about Killswitch Engage. I mean, I don’t know how I’d describe this song as anything other than ‘a Killswitch Engage song.’ They made two brilliant records that I love to death with every ounce of myself, and then two records that I thought were fine but I don’t really listen to. I really think that they need to figure out some way to mix it up a little bit in the near future.” Whether or not you want to own this song will really come down to whether or not you’re a KSE completist.
  2. TRIVIUM, “SHATTERING THE SKIES ABOVE” – A natural progression from Shogun and the debut of new drummer Nick Augusto, this is actually one of the heavier Trivium songs in recent memory. There’s no Heafy-as-Hetfield vocals here; he’s often doing classic death metal vox in a much lower register than I can ever recall in a past Trivium track, and Augusto actually gets to use some blast beats at one point, which means he’s already cooler than Travis Smith. There’s also some nice, super-fluid guitar solos.
  3. DREAM THEATER, “RAW DOG” – This is actually an instrumental track, which is to say it’s basically a Liquid Tension Experiment album, which is to say that it’s simultaneously incredibly masturbatory and incredibly awesome. Does anyone ever really miss James LaBrie when he’s not around? Doesn’t it seem like he is to Dream Theater as Meg is to the Griffins on Family Guy?
  4. TAKING DAWN, “MADNESS” – Okay, so when this song started, I was like “Wow this rocks!” And then the vocals kicked in. And therein lies the problem with pretty much every Taking Dawn song I’ve heard so far: vocalist/guitarist Chris Babbitt is weighin’ these dudes down. His voice sounds thin and strained, his melodies are unmemorable, and his lyrics have all the poetry of a third grader’s book report (He seems to mostly be quoting 300 here). If he stuck to his axe and hired someone way better to be the band’s front man, Taking Dawn would be a truly righteous rethrash band. As it stands, I’m waiting for them to start their own equivalent of Liquid Tension Experiment.
  5. OPETH, “THROAT OF WINTER” – You may have guessed this song is the best reason to own this album, and you’d be right. It’s not heavy at all; if you’re one of those idiots who doesn’t like Damnation, you will not like this. Oh well. Your loss. This track is beautiful and brilliant.
  6. MUTINY WITHIN, “THE END” – This isn’t a radical departure from anything on the band’s self-titled debut, which was just released. If you like that album, you’re going to like this song; if you don’t, you won’t.

So there ya have it. The album is going to be available tomorrow as a digital download, or as part of a super-mega-edition of God of War III later this month. My advice would be, if digital retailers offer the release on a song-by-song basis, take the good and ditch the bad and just be grateful for some new shit from a couple of cool bands.

(two and a half out of five horns)


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