Saturday, May 2, 2009

Review: Gauntlet - What Doesn't Kill Us (2008)

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What Doesn't Kill Us...

Riding the wave of crushing, groove-oriented Heavy Metal perpetuated by bands like Disturbed and Sevendust, Spain's Gauntlet  is looking to be counted among the ranks of modern Heavy Metal bands that haven't fallen prey to following the ill-advised metalcore path. You won't find any breakdowns or screamo vocals on What Doesn't Kill Us..., the band's latest album, but there are plenty of meaty riffs and punishing leads to satisfy any fan of radio-friendly heavy music.

Daniel Millán and Miguel Rocha combine for some powerful, catchy riffs - which is essentially the core of Gauntlet's sound. On tracks like "Decade", which also features a Nickelback-ish locomotive main riff, Millán lays down some fairly intricate solos to go along with the drive and melody of the twin-guitar onslaught. He adopts a very Zakk Wylde-esque style on "In The Name Of ( )", a track that also stands out for the thick bass presence from Santiago Garcia, but no matter the tone he adopts Millán is an ever-present force throughout the album.

Besides his six-string contributions, rhythm guitarist Rocha helps define Gauntlet's sound with a voice well-suited to this style of music. There's really nothing about his delivery that would be considered unique, setting him apart from the pack, but he possesses just the right amount of grit and anger to compliment the music perfectly. Whether taking on a grungy tone on "... Makes Us Stronger" or sounding a bit like contemporary James Hetfield on "In The Name Of ( )", Rocha keeps his delivery planted firmly in a mid-range style and metes out a flawless performance.

From start to finish, What Doesn't Kill Us... is a runaway train loaded with punishing beats (courtesy of Alejandro Martinez), wild guitar leads, and skull-splitting riffs. It's not groundbreaking, but if you're looking to throw on some tunes and bust up a room then this is the CD for the job.

Track Listing
1 What Doesn't Kill Us... 0:27
2 ... Makes Us Stronger 6:02
3 Winners Race 5:26
4 Decade 5:27
5 In The Name Of ( ) 5:00
6 Cross Of Shame 6:35
7 Inner Enemy 5:43
8 Seeds Of Hate 5:09
9 The Hole 4:22
10 A Last Advice 1:15
Total Runtime 45:26

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