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Pictures Of Pain
(Empire Records)

This Polish band is described by their label as the Thrash Metal one, with some possible TESTAMENT and ANNIHILATOR overtones. Well, something is going wrong here, because after a listen, it is obvious that HORRORSCOPE are very remotely connected to the Thrash genre. It is true that crunching guitars rhythms are prominent throughout the album, but that only can't account for the Thrash tag. Let's rather say that HORRORSCOPE are more a Power Metal outfit, with some traditional arrangements (hear how the main riff of 'Inferno' is close to a JUDAS PRIEST one for instance) than anything else. Some of our readers (especially the German ones) might remember of the band TAI-PAN that recorded an underrated album back in 1995 ("Slow Death" on Shark Records), so to them I can say that HORRORSCOPE follow the same path, but minus the songwriting abilities of the long forgotten Germans. In fact, here lies the main problem for HORRORSCOPE: they try hard (and maybe too hard, because you feel the labor and pain that led to the completion of each of the songs) to come up with fresh ideas with the unfortunate result "Pictures Of Pain" sounding artificial and anemic. The excellent production is wasted here to only highlight the flaws of the album, to begin with the almost extinct voice of Adam Brylka who seems bored to death by the lyrics he delivers, and the 'experimental' drum playing of the 'mysterious' Leo and line-up credited Arek Kus who both try sometimes pathetic tricks to raise our interest. Add to this a systematic recourse to the mid-tempo pacing, a very difficult rhythm to use when it comes to pen memorable songs, and you obtain an ode to boredom. I was able to found three standout tracks though, namely 'Inferno' (with a cool TROUBLE like mid-section), 'Deal With The Devil' and 'The Aztec Sun'. But three tracks out of nine (after discounting three intros) cannot make for an essential purchase. And when you consider the huge amounts of records flooding the market these days, you have to be picky before buying something, I can tell you! So better stay away from this, or at least hear it before you actually consider getting it! Enough said...

Edouard Vergriete

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