Terror Universal - Make Them Bleed

Terror Universal - Make Them Bleed

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(CD, Minus Head Records, 2018)

It is best to address the elephant in the room and say right out off the bat that TERROR UNIVERSAL have similar looks with SLIPKNOT, and after having spent a lot of listening time with their debut, “Make Them Bleed”, I can safely say that these references / influences expand to their music as well. Although, this “connection” is definitely on plain sight, it can also be unfair to the US modern / groove Metal band because for some, any affiliation with SLIPKNOT is a considered a show-stopper. At any rate, you should listen first, leaving aside the looks for all those behind-the-keyboard-know-it-alls...

The aggressive “Passage Of Pain” opens the album with Black Metal-esque snare-drum action until the vocals set the record straight by highlighting TERROR UNIVERSAL’s modern Groove Metal profile. Plague’s pissed-off singing is a mix of growling and clean vocals bringing to mind FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH or maybe HELLYEAH’s Chad Gray, with the latter being a more appropriate point of reference. In fact, TERROR UNIVERSAL sound closer to the aforementioned bands than they do with SLIPKNOT. After the too-groovy for me “Welcome To Hell”, comes the catchy and melodic “Spines” which features John Moyer as guest on bass duty. In this one, Plague showcases his singing range by leaving on the side the screaming and the growling. The electronic samples with the almost synthwave vibe is a nice twist on this Groove Metal hit-to-be with a chorus that sticks to mind from the first listening. Speaking of guest appearances, in “Dead On Arrival” there is Tony Campos who I think does some singing too, adding more heaviness. “Through The Mirrors” is cut from the same cloth, being focused on strong grooves with sing-along bridges (again, the clean vocals make a huge difference) and electronic sounds. What I like the most on this one, are the moody atmosphere and the antithesis created by the screaming aggression and the melodic vocal lines that bleed into each other as the song goes on. The guitars take a step forward on the heavier “Dig You A Hole” that I think enters the Metalcore realm but returns to the groove patterns during yet-another catchy chorus. The keyboard layers lurking in the background create the dark atmosphere that, I guess, fits the masked faces and the evil nicknames the band members are using.

Like I said, this genre does not fit well to my listening habits, but still, I enjoyed spinning it and I think the main reason was the connection with the melodic Death Metal scene of the Swedish origin. There were times like in “Into The Darkness” or in the faster “Your Time Has Come” where SOILWORK came to mind, and that is a huge plus since it kind of deviates from the whole US modern Groove Metal. Or it may as well be just an “excuse” for me to use in response to why I like this one...

I liked spinning the TERROR UNIVERSAL debut LP and found many headbanging and sing-along opportunities. However, the whole ‘wearing masks' thing kind of distracts the listener from the music by priming his ears and judgement already deciding on the band’s influences. This would not have been an issue some years ago when forming an opinion required more than just looking at an album’s cover...

7/10


Links:

www.TerrorUniversal.Com
www.FaceBook.Com/TerrorUniversalOfficial


Tracklist:

01. Passage Of Pain
02. Welcome To Hell
03. Spines (Feat. John Moyer)
04. Make Them Bleed
05. Through The Mirrors
06. Dig You A Hole
07. Dead On Arrival (Feat. Tony Campos)
08. Into Darkness
09. Your Time Has Come
10. Piece By Piece


Lineup:

Plague - Vocals
Massacre - Drums
Diabolus - Bass
Thrax - Guitar