For The Greater Good
07 June 2010
by Tom Dare
Colonel Blast are selling themselves short with their name. Although “General Blast” and “Field Marshall Blast” would be crap names, “Colonel” is a bit too mid-rank for a band capable of this kind of twisted and insane genius.
Heaviness of this kind of chaos and precision is phenomenally hard to do well, but For The Greater Good manages this with aplomb. Colonel Blast blend the out-and-out crushing heaviness of death metal with the kind of manic changes of pace, complex rhythms and furious catharsis that the math-ier end of hardcore indulges in.
Setting out with a wandering acoustic opening on gives no indication of the pandemonium about to ensue. Once it gives way to the first blast beats and furious riffs of ‘Ethical Betrayal’, you could initially be mistaken for thinking a fairly conventional death metal record is in the offing. The rapid progression into to Dillinger-esque chaos quickly destroys any such impressions, and the feeling that you are discovering something genuinely top-drawer is confirmed when the acoustic, almost Opeth-like bits return in ‘Management Coat Competition’. By the time closing track ‘Blofeld Never Died’ rolls around, bringing with it an evil riff that blurs the line between black and death metal in superb horror (and a bizarre reminder of Enslaved), Colonel Blast have left you exhausted and tingling with their unsettling power and raw emotion.
While there are a few minor gripes to be had, there is a more serious issue with the production. For The Greater Good sounds very bleak and hopeless and generally feels like living inside the mind of a brilliant maniac who has just had the world shit on him from a great height. While this adds to the atmosphere that makes this a powerful record, the number of things going on at any one time and the rapidity of passing events would be served by a higher level of clarity. While a shiny, polished veneer from the likes of Adam D would be too much, a production style of the like employed by Jens Bogren – who produced the most recent albums from Opeth, Amon Amarth and Paradise Lost – would work better. The balance between density and clarity of sound is a difficult one, but this is a tad more necro than is really helpful with music as layered and varied as this.
Watch Colonel Blast play ‘Frozen in Apathy’ live in Manchester:
Overall, For The Greater Good never lets your attention wander for a moment, never letting an idea get stale and unafraid of going in completely unexpected directions without any kind of warning. Complex, progressive and quite possibly worthy of detention under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act, Colonel Blast have all the right ingredients – all that the recipe needs is a little fine-tuning from a master chef, and maybe some slightly better cooking appliances to help put it together.
Sounds like: Carcass, Converge, Morbid Angel
Top tracks: Management Coat Competition, For the Greater Good Pt2 – In the Cold Light of Day, Blofeld Never Died
Colonel Blast- For The Greater Good tracklisting:
Management Coat Competition
Savour the Flavour
For the Greater Good Pt1 – The Best Intentions
For the Greater Good Pt2 – In the Cold Light of Day
Frozen in Apathy
Blofeld Never Died