Jack Slater – Extinction Aftermath

Believe it or not, this is the fourth studio album from unusually-named German death metal `Last Action Heroes’ Jack Slater. Although relatively unheard of here, these guys have been going since 1995, and have managed to crank out four full length albums and a host of demos and EPs. This should go some way to explaining the incredible, mature and overwhelming metalwork on this album – it really is quite amazing.

In some ways, it is no surprise that jack Slater aren’t known very well in the UK – most of their lyrics are in German and so the content of the songs will have limited appeal here – it’s a shame, because a lot of their lyrics are remarkably poetic, containing a good quantity of dark, obscure introspection and philosophical musing (thanks Google translate!);  saying that, you don’t really need an online translator or someone fluent in German to understand the general gist of `Happy Hour’!
Whether or not the German lyrics make any impression upon the listener, it is impossible not to be awed by the some of the sounds emanating from the album. These boys can sure play! German metal often gets a bad press, partly due to the enormous amount of bands coming from that scene – I remember when I first started listening to metal back in the year dot, German bands were often derided for being `unoriginal, uninspiring and workman-like’.  I’m happy to report that these guys smash that stereotype to pieces – this album is packed full of flare, talent and dynamism.

The first thing that struck me was the incredibly crisp, clear, yet heavy production. It’s a great balance between pounding heaviness and perfect clarity – and reminds me a little of some of the more technical American bands, in particular the latest album by Severed Saviour. Horn’s vocals are guttural and aggressive but also manage a wide range of expression, as well being very clear.  All instruments can be heard perfectly, and no single instrument dominates – every note is delivered straight into your eardrums with maximum efficiency! The Severed Saviour comparisons don’t stop at the production however – Jack Slater are capable of some incredible musical gymnastics, showed off particularly well on the opening track `Pheromon’. Where this band has the edge on some of their American contemporaries however, is their amazing song-writing ability.

Technical death metal is not the only thing you will hear on `Extinction Aftermath’ – I was particularly amazed at their wide variety of influences on display. Each song seems to contain a whole series of moods and genres; sometimes I’m reminded of early thrash metal, I was also briefly reminded of Opeth on occasion, I’m sure I heard a few seconds of Pantera-style stomp in one or two songs as well! The band never shy away from being face-meltingly brutal as well either, with some great moments of sheer bludgeoning barbarity. They manage to cram all this in, without the songs ever getting boring or lost – and even to manage to maintain a song-like feel throughout, something that a lot of ultra-technical death metal bands neglect.
There is a lot to like about this album, and even after repeated listens I’m still finding new things to be amazed by! I recommend you do the same.

1. Pheromon
2. Dysthymia
3. Martyr
4. Funkenflug
5. Happy Hour
6. Omniscience
7. 4 8 15 16 23 42
8. Konstrukt
9. Resser Frednik
10. Extinction Aftermath

Unundeux Records
Reviewer: Jon
Oct 22, 2010

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