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Shaolin Death Squad - Five Deadly Venoms CD (album) cover


Shaolin Death Squad


Progressive Metal

4.00 | 152 ratings

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4 stars "Five Deadly Venoms" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Texas based progressive metal act Shaolin Death Squad. The album was released through Do For It Records in January 2010. Itīs the successor to "Intelligent Design" from 2006 and the band members still have stage names like The White Swan, Black Ninja (who is actually King Diamond drummer Matt Thompson), and Red Dragon. As far as I can see thereīs been one lineup change as bassist White Dragon has been replaced by Praying Mantis. The lyrical themes are also still about martial arts and asian myths and cystoms. Itīs a pretty unique lyrical concept and band image, and off the top of my head I can only think of one other artists who has a similar lyrical approach and thatīs US death metal act Dim Mak. About half of the songs on the album form a concept story inspired by the 1978 martial arts film "Five Deadly Venoms" directed by Chang Cheh.

Stylistically the material on "Five Deadly Venoms" continue the progressive metal style with alternative rock/metal leanings which was also heard on "Intelligent Design". Lead vocalist The White Swan has a voice and singing style which is similar to Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk...etc.) and itīs impossible not to mention especially Faith No More as an influence on Shaolin Death Squad. When that is said it is mostly the vocals which point in that direction. Shaolin Death Squad have a sound which is very much their own. They donīt come from the Dream Theater school of progressive metal, and itīs actually hard to pin down their influences (other than Mike Patton/Faith No More). Itīs not overtly technical progressive metal with many instrumental runs. Instead itīs more focused on atmosphere, storytelling, drama, and heavy riffs and atmosphere enhancing keyboards, but most of all strong melodies. "Five Deadly Venoms" is an incredibly melodic album throughout.

The musicianship is strong on all posts, although The White Swan has a tendency to steal the show with his powerful, melodic, and passionate vocals. "Five Deadly Venoms" featutures a detailed, powerful, and well sounding production job, which suits the music perfectly, and the only issue I can find about this album is that for all the focus on melody throughout the album, itīs not always an immediately catchy or memorable release and the tracks generally take time to learn to tell apart. So thereīs some work cut out for the listener. You donīt get everything served on a plate for you, but I guess that should sound intriguing to most fans of progressive metal. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

UMUR | 4/5 |


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