Springing forth from South Australia, MANIACAL is a five piece band hell bent on destroying any preconceptions you have about Australian metal. With a previous full length release Buried In Hell, a nine track shrine to the band’s youth and obvious influences, MANIACAL return with nine track release Life Is A Dark Chain Of Events to show off their maturation process in a vivid display of musicianship and musicality – within the bounds of extreme thrash metal, that is.
When the introduction to an album is news reporter samples from the aftermath of terrorist attacks, with gun shots popping and the wounded wailing in the background, it certainly sends a message about what to expect from an album. In this, MANIACAL does not disappoint. From the first run down pattern at the start of “This Means War”, to the final melodic cacophony of the title track and last song of the album “Life Is A Dark Chain Of Events” MANIACAL takes you through waves of musical emotions reminiscent of the best thrash albums ever released. The songs don’t range too far from the base style, so if you are wanting an album of broad musical range, this may not be for you. BUT, if you are wanting an album that grabs you by the throat and holds you against a wall until you tearfully submit, then you want to put this on and turn it up.
While not bringing anything new to the table, MANIACAL’s musicians put forth an excellent understanding of their chosen instruments. Dave Hawkins and Kane Sampson compliment each others guitar abilities, and show a willingness to be more original than on MANIACAL’s first album Buried In Hell. The riff patterns, diversity and speed surpasses anything put on that previous effort.
Layne Anderson plays as you would expect from an extreme metal bass player – just like a guitarist. While not having a large presence on the album, when the bottom drops out for the break-downs the bass is an all-too integral element that does not go lacking on Life…..
Sam Verco does a satisfactory job on the drums. His ability is very evident, but all too often reminds me of Dave Mclain from MachineHead, which is not necessarily a negative. I just saw opportunities to throw in some of the techniques utilized by today’s best metal drummers, and I feel taking the safe route, while still sounding good, kept the songs from being as epic as they (in parts) had the potential to be. Sam shows some willingness to let loose on “Drive My Madness”, and that aided this album in getting a 4 rating instead of a 3.5.
Rounding out the quintet is Andy Kite, whose growling chants of ‘Kill me’ in the song with the same name brought chills to my spine. His vocal range is exactly what you would expect from a modern day metal vocalist, and then some. Raucous highs, rumbling lows, and everything in between, this guy knows his business. The fact that he almost uses pig squeals in “I Am My Own God” but holds it back just enough to retain perfect articulation was amazing!
Having never heard of MANIACAL before, Life Is A Dark Chain Of Events is the catalyst that will entice me to pay attention to what this band is doing in the future. I suggest you pay attention as well!
Layne Anderson – Bass
Dave Hawkins – Guitar
Andy Kite – Vocals
Kane Sampson – Guitar
Sam Verco – Drums