On the evidence of their debut album Leap of Faith, Belgian metallers Guilty As Charged create a brew of thrash fuelled heavy metal which without stretching originality too far provides a rather tasty and invigorating proposition. The band’s new album is a fiery and creatively gripping encounter which surges and rampages with all the right moves to ignite ears and passions as its ferocious enterprise works away on the imagination. A game changer it is not but for riotous pleasure and honest satisfaction not many albums have surpassed Leap of Faith so far this year.
Formed in 2008, Guilty As Charged soon made a good impression with their live shows and the following year through the demo Boxed In. That was followed by the quartet sharing stages with the likes of Pro-Pain, UDO, and Stormrider as well as festival appearances at events such as the Alcatraz Metal Festival in 2011 with Helloween and Death Angel, and Masters @ Rock 2012 with Soulfly & Channel Zero. Recorded last year, Leap of Faith is poised to push the foursome of vocalist/ rhythm guitar Jan De Vuyssere, lead guitarist Dempsey Derous, bassist Hannes De Caluwe, and drummer Matthew Vandenberghe into a wider and more intensive spotlight, one certainly deserved by the storming presence and exciting escapades within the release.
Opening track Preach to the Masses instantly seizes ears and attention with its swipe of melodic coaxing which is soon over run with thumping rhythms alongside keen and feisty riffs. It is an easy bait to find an appetite for, one growing into a magnetic stroll of roving beats and a senses entwining sonic enticement. The raw and grizzled vocal roar of De Vuyssere only accentuates the impressive and incendiary start, sparking off an even richer strain of guitar endeavour to snake across the song’s climate. In full muscular flight, the track badgers and intimidates with resourceful enterprise and a great rapacious groove which flirts perfectly with the throaty basslines and the melodic scorching of heavy metal incitement. It is a riveting entrance by the album, not one to leave jaws slack in awe but one to fire up body and emotions for a greedy anticipation for the subsequent tracks.
Those expectations are soon fed a tasty morsel with Last Chance, a track which does not quite match the opening plateau but still sets its own thrilling level with predatory riffs and similarly gaited rhythms and vocals. There is an underlying hostility to the song but it is tempered by the blaze of melodic enticement and skilled sonic suggestiveness. The vocals like the music mix up their textures and attacks to add their own depth and intrigue to the rampant confrontation. Its triumph is soon rivalled by the outstanding title track which from its funky lead in expels waves of sonic intrigue to which the ever impressing vocals add their expressive narrative. The dark hearted tones of the bass and ridges of riffs only add to the rigorously contagious encounter whilst Derous lays a web of ingenious bait which is as insatiable as it is addictive. There is also a punk edge to the track which offers hints of Suicidal Tendencies and Biohazard to the flavoursome and impressing mix.
Both the Metallica like I’ll Never and the enthralling Lonewolf bring diversity and potency to the release, the first prowling and gnawing on ears with sinister expression and predatory invention which sparks the imagination into new adventures. Its successor again has that fierce attitude and breath with an air of the likes of Megadeth and Testament to it yet with its exploratory sonic designs equally provides something individual to the band. Both tracks incite the listener to join their potently anthemic calls before the melodic caress of Elysium wraps its elegance around ears. With rising sultry flames of guitar and emotive hues, the instrumental makes for an evocative engagement before making way for the bruising presence of Lack Of Control. With a caustic scent to its rapacious intensity and attitude, the track boils and bellows with passion and antagonistic purpose whilst veining its roar with acidic shards of sonic invention and colour which as much as the song intimidates equally seduces.
The album is closed by Down, maybe the least eventful and striking track on the release but a song bringing Leap Of Faith to a mighty close with its Pantera-esque swinging groove and simply ravenous intensity. As suggested Guilty As Charged do not change the face of heavy and thrash metal with their first album but certainly they have given it a thrilling and explosively enterprising new proposition and who cannot be up for that?
The self-released Leap of Faith is available now.
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