“Old school and fresh blood. They rarely mix well, at least when Metal is concerned. Usually tete-a-tete like this ends in total incomprehension or mortal fight, but in case of RESPONSE NEGATIVE the twosome went along surprisingly well, made friends and went on banging their heads in unison. RESPONSE NEGATIVE was formed in 2002 in South Florida, USA by the guitarist Mark Dykstra joined by Nick Barlow (vocals) and a couple of other local musicians by now replaced by Jim McCourt (drums) and Andrew Goodyer (bass), but it wasn’t until former OVERKILL guitar wizard Bobby Gustafson came into the picture that the last piece of the puzzle fell in its place and anticipated “click” of completion was finally heard. Mass hysteria is definitely not what RESPONSE NEGATIVE are after, therefore no easy going stuff here, but they will undoubtedly be able to find their own dedicated audience with this release. As any good Metal, it doesn’t need any definite label. Death or Thrash, whatever. The vocals and song structures tend to the former, while the guitars make it clear where the roots of this music really are, as the OVERKILL ghost keeps materializing here and there. It’s brutal but intelligent. Complicated and tight but somehow not boring. Powerful yet melodic at the same time. Nothing is impossible here. Be it the band’s line-up or its music, the mix turned out to have a wonderful taste. What mix? Old school and fresh blood, that’s the recipe.” Well, that was a professional in me, a professional asked by the band to write some lines for their promo pack. Now let me be just a fan again – the real me. The difference between a pro and a fan isn’t that huge though. As it turned out, the former isn’t necessarily bound to act against one’s conscience, sometimes it’s enough just to keep some details in the family, that’s all. And I thought reviewing early PARADISE LOST albums was the most delicate task, how naive… First of all, in order to safeguard old OVERKILL fans against any disappointments, I’ll have to say they should expect here neither “Feel The Fire Pt. II” nor a continuation from where “The Years Of Decay” stopped. Even though the ghost, mentioned above, really graces this music by its presence, as a whole the latter is rather different beast by nature. Much more Death Metal oriented, more groovy, more modern in its approach. Not exactly what old OVERKILL fans like yours truly expected or at least hoped it to be, but still good old Thrash is what Bobby’s guitar can’t forget and get rid of, however hard its master may try. Thank God, Mr. Gustafson is still capable of writing and playing some killer riffs and sparkling leads, and the acoustic part in the middle of ‘Etched In Sickness’ is undoubtedly something to make his old fans’ hearts to pound faster. Sounds like continued ‘Overkill’ saga isn’t finished yet. Other than that, no more cases of OVERKILL déja vu here, I’m afraid. Well, it’s a new age which requires new music. Sad but true. Anyway, despite the band’s name, the response to its music is rather positive at this point. It’s really good for what it is, working its way into your heart slowly, layer by layer revealing its grandeur to the willing listener. Just remember the warning above and enjoy RESPONSE NEGATIVE music without prejudice. www.responsenegative.com.