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The Great Deceiver A Venom Well Designed

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01. Pierced 02. The Living End 03. Poisoned Chalice 04. After The Flood 05. Enter The Martyrs 06. The Demon's Lair 07. Arsenic Dreams 08. Strychnine 09. The Blade 10. Leave It All Behind 11. Destroy-Adore
2002 Peaceville Records
Our score 5

by Cory
8/14/2002

It is very difficult to fairly evaluate two bands that have the same singer without comparing them. It is even more difficult when that singer is Tomas Lindberg, formerly of the legendary Swedish metal band At The Gates. The Great Deceiver is a progressive metal outfit who definitely manage to avoid any possible comparison. The opening track "Pierced," sets the pace for the album with an up-tempo beat and catchy guitar riffs. Approximately five seconds into the song, when the singing began, I knew I had to at least give The Great Deceiver a chance (I have not heard the band's Trustkill EP). Every bit of Lindberg's almost animal-like scream has translated perfectly from Slaughter Of The Soul to A Venom Well Designed. While this is obviously a plus, it leaves the other members of the band with a very difficult task, one they occasionally pull off much better than anyone could have expected. "The Living End" and "Poisoned Chalice" both feature some classic hardcore riffs, but where they get really good is when the guitars go into uncharted territory. The "hook" of the former sounds like it might've come from a Smashing Pumpkins record, while the latter could have come from an old horror movie. "After The Flood" kicks the album up a notch with a thrashy chorus of sorts and a simplistic yet driving drumbeat. "Enter the Martyrs" is my personal guilty pleasure on this album. The guitars are absolutely Pantera and the drumming is straight nu-metal, but I found myself singing (or growling) along to the whole thing. The disc takes a definite turn for the worse when "The Demon's Lair" begins. The majority of this song is just so boring that even the great chorus can't save it from being the disc's worst track. That is, until you hear "Arsenic Dreams." This track is some of the least inspired filler material I've ever heard. "Strychinine" brings the disc back up a bit, but it feels like the band just stopped caring. "The Blade" and "Leave It All Behind" are both engaging tracks of the upbeat metal that the Great Deceiver seems to have down to a science, but they really don't offer up anything that the first five tracks didn't. The disc ends with "Destroy-Adore," whose driving tempo and strong vocal performance keep the song appealing enough to wait through the last five tracks for. Bottom Line: While this disc is interesting and different from most of what is coming out in metal and hardcore today, it is not particularly amazing or memorable. While the guitars are strong at points, there is very little technical playing on this album. If you are tired of hearing traditional metal or hardcore, you may want to pick this up for a change of pace. Don't expect it to change your life though.

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