The Kindred reviews
Felix%201666 on September 17th, 2016
The band name hits the mark
"The Kindred" marked the first output of Pariah, but this vinyl was no debut in the narrow sense. You surely know that the British guys had a common history under the highly original name "Satan". It was therefore surprising that the band had problems to start the album in a clever manner.
"Gerrymander", the first track of the A side, does not take the audience by storm. Quite the opposite, we have to speak of a bumpy opener. The song offers almost amateurish lines and its hesitant start wants to become the prime example of a non-explosive beginning. Generally speaking, the songs do not possess this very smooth leads that characterized the successor of "The Kindred". It goes without saying that smoothness does not belong to the most relevant features of a metal output, but "Gerrymander" borders on dissonance. However, generally speaking, the songs have edges and corners, but they do not affect the flow of the songs in a negative way. Thus, the remaining songs of the album's first half show a more compelling face. Pariah's sound connects speed with heavy metal and the band tries to get the best of both worlds. "Scapegoat" is not the only track which shows that this strategy can lead to very exciting results. The expressive, fairly harmonic voice of the lead singer is supported by pinpoint background vocals and the abrasive guitars convey the feeling of bitterness. Drum rolls lend the chorus a dynamic facet and the mid-part is split into a calm intermezzo and a speed metal sequence. Pariah give full speed until the end of the song and due to the more or less detailed description of the representative "Scapegoat", one can hopefully imagine how the A side sounds.
The second half of the album begins with one of these intros that nobody ever asked for. Leaving this number of minor relevance aside, the B side also houses four regular tracks. But let's take a look at the technical implementation of the material before we speak about the songs themselves. Honestly speaking, the mix lacks of transparency and power. The guitars and the drums build a non-organic unit. It seems as if producer Roy M. Rowland had some very important things to do (smoking a cigarette, playing with his model railway or seeking his swimming trunks to be prepared for the next summer) with the effect that he could not give his full attention to his job. All in all, the sound takes a deep dive in the slightly contaminated water of mediocrity. Thank God, it does not fully destroy the power of the pieces. "Inhumane" and "Killing for Company" are swift as an arrow and shine with coherent song structures. Better still, the latter applies for each and every track (with the exception of "Gerrymander" and the intro I have already mentioned). Last but not least, the closer adds a melancholic feeling, before the climate changes rapidly and the song turns out to be another speed jewel. The hopeless chorus ("You're just another soldier / You're just another soldier") puts the cherry on the cake. Indeed, the B side beats the first half of the full-length while offering three of the four album highlights.
Today we know that the story of Pariah was no success story. In terms of style, the band was caught between two stools. I suspect that this situation sealed the formation's fate. Despite a lot of good components like the great level of diversity, the mostly fascinating guitar work and the charismatic vocals which were on "The Kindred" definitely stronger than on "Blaze of Obscurity", Pariah's music failed to reach the majority of those people that liked authentic metal with a no-frills attitude. Too bad that I am no longer fifteen years old. Otherwise this review would with a juvenile "F**k the business" or comparable nonsense. Yet it is definitely a shame that the guys of Pariah never played a main role in the imaginary music movie "The Eighties - the Golden Decade of Metal".
autothrall on December 19th, 2009
Pariah was a UK thrash metal band formed as a separate project of the members of Satan, including the 'other' Michael Jackson, who also fronted that band. To make things even more perplexing, Pariah was formerly called Blind Fury, and released a great album under that name in 1985. The band was also a stopover for Steve Ramsey (guitar) and Graeme English (bass) before they left to start Skyclad with Martin Walkyier (of Sabbat). Still following me here?
Their music was not a long haul away from Satan. Like many other UK bands of the period, they were playing thrash metal that still had a foundation in the raw heavy metal that had dominated the country for the past decade. Old habits die hard, but The Kindred is pretty much a thrash metal album at its core, with dirty and punctual muted rhythms and crazy leads. Of the two Pariah albums he fronted, Michael Jackson's vocals were superior here, sounding a bit like Suspended Sentence. Like most everything these gentlemen ever released, The Kindred is a solid if not wholly impressive debut. Think of a more modernized Onslaught.
"Gerrymander" opens with some bass, samples and melodic leads that erupt into one of the better aggressors on the album, though the stomping of "The Rope" is superior, with a raucous edge that reminds me of Bay Area stuff like Vio-Lence or Exodus. "Scapegoat" and "Foreign Bodies" remind me of Satan, and I especially like the intro to the latter, though the riffing meat of the track itself is average. "La Guerre" is an acoustic intro to "Inhumane", well paced thrash and speed with some good vocals and riffs that at least create a good momentum. The bridge riff to "Killing for Company" is pretty good, but "Icons of Hypocrisy" doesn't really deliver after a nice intro piece. That leaves the "Promise of Remembrance", which opens in a really cool, atmospheric acoustic segment and proceeds to tear through some of the better riffs on the entire album. The final track "Disciples Anonymous" is actually quite good, though it doesn't receive any billing on the CD, it has some frantic little technical thrash rhythms at the minute mark which are amazing.
The mix here is another of those timeless 80s jobs which simply doesn't lose face after several decades. Vocals are right in the middle here, but the riffs and rhythm section are more than adequate and the entire affair feels crisp and aggressive. The musicianship is really good, these guys had the chops to be one of the better tech thrash outfits in England, though they never overly flaunt them. The Kindred is a good debut, and I'd recommend hunting it down if you like other UK thrash like Onslaught or Xentrix. But it's not their best.
Xeogred on May 28th, 2008
Great successor to Suspended Sentence
Satan's evolution finally came to an end here with this moniker, Pariah. What they were going for with Suspended Sentence released under part of Satan's legacy, could definitely be seen as a hint to the direction they'd take as Pariah. That raspy, ill-tempered, aggressive Michael Jackson (indeed) is still here on vocals and these guys really wanted to tear things apart with this release. Yet again, the main lineup here is entirely the same from Satan and Blind Fury (vocalists aside). Simply put, I think you could easily say they took Suspended Sentence's interesting idea of "heavy NWOBHM meets thrash" and basically focused on being even more aggressive this time.
I might be throwing out the obvious here again, but if you're new to Pariah or perhaps Satan and Blind Fury, familiarize yourself with the fact that guitarists Russ Tippins and Steve Ramsey are truly an insane duo. Both have a lot of character to their own styles and at the same time, they manage to blend in everything together perfectly. For the most part with The Kindred here their guitar work is pretty thrashy and extremely melodic. Then out of nowhere those classy NWOBHM solo's, dual harmonies, and majestic melodies come into play all over the place and they manage to make it work incredibly well in between the thrashy antics. The solo's on this album are just something you'd probably never expect to hear on something overly thrashy. Just more proof these guys are definitely creative and highly skillful I'd say.
The production and mix seems to be an improvement over Suspended Sentence, which wasn't bad at all or anything but here the guitars tend to have more of a sharper edge, Jackson's vocals are constantly in the clear and never overpowered by anything else, and overall there's just more of a tougher vibe surrounding this. Everything is pretty damn heavy. Jackson again likes to throw out some rough screams around the place that oddly remind me of Eric Adams, (maybe after he swallowed a little bit of lava or something). While Tippins and Ramsey are really out there in a realm of their own, there's great performances again by Graeme English on bass and Sean Taylor on drums. Overall you've got a whole package of virtuous musicians here that really mastered the beauty of balance.The Kindred tends to be a little straightforward for the most part but they certainly stir things up with the crazy solo's that are easily a highlight on every single track. The riffs and rhythms as I kind of stated above are very melodic and catchy, not too experimental or odd. But when it comes to some buildups, rhythm changes, and the start of solo's, you'll be pitted in tons of unique originality. Overall The Kindred sticks to its "heavy NWOBHM meets thrash" formula with every track being pretty fast and aggressive. It's a bit hard to explain I guess, you could say the album is a bit more predictable compared to some of their other works but at the same time you just really have to hear how they interestingly play things out. I also think it's really cool that there's a handful of tracks off this that probably could've stemmed from early Satan around their Court In The Act era. Basically, if you took some of these tracks like The Rope, Foreign Bodies, Inhumane, etc, and slowed them down a bit, cleared out the guitar tone, put someone more clean on vocals like former Brian Ross, you'd probably end up with some classy NWOBHM tunes. They've even got those shouts in the background from the other members which was definitely popular in some NWOBHM (hey and then thrash?). Towards the end of the album things do seem to get a bit experimental with tracks like Icons of Hypocrisy and Shows Your Face. The instrumental La Guerra is really great, it's like a sequel to 92nd Symphony from Satan!
In the end, I think one of the biggest highlights for me here is Scapegoat - this song just dominates with amazing riffs and leads, easily one of the more aggressive and darker numbers as well. After a little short dramatic segment (where Jackson actually sounds great with some softer clear vocals) the song completely explodes, an insane twin guitar attack shreds things apart while everyone in the background is going pretty over the top themselves. All the songs that contain solo's like this, where the drums and bass are going crazy at the same time are probably my other favorites like Inhumane, Killing For Company, and Promise of Remembrance. I do have to say the slower soothing leads on Icons of Hypocrisy stand out quite a bit too. Either way, all the solo's here are pretty phenomenal but I think you get the point already! All in all, this is really unique stuff. Everyone knows thrash was somewhat born from NWOBHM, but I think a lot of bands with their earlier releases wanted those influences to be a bit subtle. Not with The Kindred here, Pariah wanted this to literally be "thrashy NWOBHM" and they really made it work. Fans of both thrash and the tougher NWOBHM stuff out there should definitely check this out. Their next release Blaze of Obscurity would prove to be even more creative, not quite as aggressive as this one but it is a little superior I'd say. It's something you really can't classify at all. Satan, Blind Fury, and Pariah all typically made up of the same core members definitely created some timeless and unique heavy metal.
The Kindred track list
|7||Killing for Company||05:02|
|8||Icons of Hypocrisy||04:49|
|9||Promise of Remembrance||05:18|
The Kindred lineup