Nightmare Scenario reviews
Diamhea on December 3rd, 2014
Architect of average.
So the old curse that felled Re-Animator strikes again, although at least not with such ferocity in Slammer's case. I have spent so long opining regarding the greatness of Australia's thrash scene, it is easy to forget about the UK, which always seems to have been relegated to the kiddie table in comparison. Xentrix and Sabbat are natural and knee-jerk inclusions to any comprehensive list of genre stalwarts, but what about the second line? A handicap and flanking liability, bolstered by the average likes of the aforementioned Re-Animator and the equally irritating Acid Reign. Perhaps it has something to do with the sweeping and prolific influence of the punk scene that was so prevalent when thrash bands starting popping out, but UK acts tend to be puerile and candy-coated exercises in infantile, average posturing. Sort of like proto-pizza thrash years before Exodus had a chance to plant the virus that spread and gave us shit like Municipal Waste years later.
So while Slammer certainly preclude themselves from such audaciously lurid resemblances, that doesn't mean that they come out entirely unscathed. While Nightmare Scenario is an appreciably dank and dreary exercise in more controlled, supervised bloodletting, it also seriously lacks that voraciously killer instinct that is so required when thrash bands play up such avenues. An average vocalist certainly doesn't help matters much, and Paul Tunnicliffe sadly lacks the required tenor to sell the confines he fines himself working in here. Imagine a far, far less pronounced Ozzy Osbourne that lacks such distinctiveness while retaining nearly all of the nasal annoyance. Well, Tunnicliffe is your man if you prefer such inequalities in your singer, and he isn't even the worst part of the record!
The biggest liability concerns the complete ejection of anything resembling tension and release. While competently performed and in a relatively unusual mold for the style, nearly all of the songs on Nightmare Scenario are in one ear and out the other in no seconds flat. So little sticks that you don't even need to bother washing your hands afterward, and considering the gutter-driven aesthetic that these Brits so clearly attempt to purport, it is almost a pitiful thing to witness. Being incapacitated by such middling vocal efforts forces attention to the riffs in a desperate attempt to salvage the operation, but nothing but empty promises exist in return. I can definitely see what Slammer were going for here, as I certainly can't knock them too much for attempting to conscript more intellectually-centric narrative themes along with a more forward-thinking slant, but there isn't enough heterogeneity in riff delivery to piece the puzzle together without cutting a few pieces up in the process.
Although there is a clear Metallica influence centered around general song structure and vocal advance, Slammer appear too content to simply glide along at a mid-level tempo, virtually never changing gears and just coasting in neutral when they can get away with it. "I Know Who I Am" and "Corruption" both contain their faster moments, and while "Think for Yourself" has some nice quasi-technical evocations bubbling underneath the surface, it is far too late in Nightmare Scenario's case. '91 was by no means a bad year for thrash either, but Slammer prove on this record that the door was already closed and the lock beginning to turn. Being structurally sound and theoretically "consistent" in what it delivers earns the record some bonus points, as does the awesome Act III-esque cover art, but in the end these are just empty words amongst a sea of complaints and grievances. This might tickle a few fancies out there, but I can't count myself in on this one. Slammer's debut was decent, but this is average all around and a record best avoided unless you really want to broaden your horizons.
Nightmare Scenario track list
|1||What's Your Pleasure?||04:57|
|3||In the Name of God||03:40|
|4||Just Another Massacre||03:50|
|5||Architect of Pain||04:48|
|7||I Know Who I Am||04:06|
|9||Think for Yourself||03:16|
Nightmare Scenario lineup