Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Review: Chainfist - Black Out Sunday (2010)

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Black Out Sunday

Chainfist - Black Out Sunday
Denmark's Chainfist is a hard rocking band that flirts with heavy metal just enough to rise close to the top of the heap of modern rock hopefuls. The Danes' debut release, Black Out Sunday, is a collection of no frills rock, brimming with melody, grit, and a refreshing lack of pretentiousness. Taking a harder edge than most contemporary rock bands these days, Chainfist plugs a gap that has plagued the style in recent years.

Chainfist's sound is built around the chunky guitar of Michael Kopietz, whose previous credits include time spent with Panzerchrist and Frozen Sun. These relationships are pimped pretty heavily by the PR powers that be, but don't be fooled into using those bands as points of reference for what Chainfist is about. On Black Out Sunday, Kopietz delivers a rather straightforward rock performance comprised of groove-laden riffs and dynamic leads. While a touch of Thin Lizzy can be heard amongst the riffs of the album's lead-off track, "Free Me", Kopietz most often works with more darker, modernistic components (the almost nu-metal swirls of "Be A Man", for instance). "Edge Of The World" stands out as one of Black Out Sunday's stronger tracks due in large part to the edgier guitar tone put together by Kopietz.

Adding depth to an already heavy sound is four-stringer Braca Pederson. Emerging on "Evolution", Pederson's bass is well-placed in the mix and provides a nice, rather "old school" element to Chainfist's style. "Clown", which has some rather odd lyrics seemingly inspired by Stephen King's It, oozes groove thanks to Pederson's contributions. Equally integral to Black Out Sunday's appeal are the raucous beats of drummer Jesper Heidelbach. Not necessarily flashy, Heidelbach still makes his presence felt through such moments as the galloping beats of "Evolution" and the admirable fills of "Stay".

The last remaining ingredient in Chainfist's formula, and second in impact only to Kopietz' guitar, is frontman Jackie Peterson's vocals. Like Heidelbach, Peterson's workmanlike performance serves to ground Black Out Sunday in comfortably accessible territory without risking many over-the-top theatrics. Sticking mostly to the middle and lower levels of his range, he does tend to waver a bit when reaching above his comfort zone. He also adopts a strange, but thankfully brief, croaking style on "Have You Ever", "In Your Face", and "Black Out". I suspect that he intended to interject a bit of a Gothic flair to his performance, but should probably skip that angle entirely on Chainfist's next release.

With tracks such as the aforementioned "Edge Of The World", the respectable power ballad "Carpe Diem", and the highly atmospheric instrumental "Shchwh" (don't ask, cuz I don't know) highlighting the album, Black Out Sunday is definitely a solid debut release that will capture the attention of fans who crave modern rock that actually rocks.

Track Listing
1Free Me3:59
2Edge Of The World5:14
4Be A Man3:52
5Have You Ever4:22
7In Your Face4:49
8Show Me4:32
10Carpe Diem4:42
11Black Out4:53
Total Runtime51:58

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