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ROCKET REVIEW: NINETAIL – “The Process Of Conversion” (CD/LP)


An air raid siren starts off the opening track ‘God-Willing,’ soon launching you into a doom-impending, storm bringer of a heavy metal song. Harmonic squealing, guitar distortion and thick as cement wall chugger riffing is the obvious weapon of choice for this mix-it-up nice and brutal underground sensation. Lead vocalists, J. William Heitmann, is a literal clone of Burton C Bell back from the old school Fear Factory days. And track number two’s ‘Retribution Song’ doesn’t pull back on the mighty Fear Factory influence. It’s almost as if former Spinebelt guitarists, Don Belch and Chris Evan, have graduated top honors from the Cazares school of heavy metal guitar, because it seems like the material from this debut is directly influenced by the classic ‘Soul of a New Machine’ and ‘Demanufacture’ albums that are responsible for making Dino a guitar hero in the first place. Track three ‘Constrict’ starts off with double bass drumming and eerie keyboarding from Max Melton and Jerad Gohn, soon taking you down the path of its dual-guitar attack that doesn’t ever get flashy or technical, yet makes you unable to doubt the prowess of Belch and Evan because the simple choices they make just seem so right. Song four is ‘Forgive Me’ and it’s my personal favorite. It starts out with a macabre-ish keyboard start and then builds into a wall-to-wall mosher, sorely missing in so much of what’s being released today by other metal acts.

Lead singer, Heitmann seals the deal with his bowel-deep howling: “Push it to the limit, there are no boundaries”, giving off a sense of bravado and fearlessness that is very affecting to the listener, in terms of drawing you closer to the fight as Ninetail expects from you. Song five is more Nine Inch Nail’s inspired as it sprawls its web-like chill over you and pulls you into its awaiting horror-filled landscape that Ninetail has been carefully leading you up to… “With my ability to destroy” croaked out in proclamation for whoever challenges them. Belch’s lead solo work on this track is more than satisfying and cuts straight through the bullshit ‘arpeggio-crazed’ path that so many other leads opt to take when showing fretburning skills. Song number six, ‘Ruination Theory’, is by no means less agitated then what’s come before it, offering this time a more Slayer-esque feel. Track number seven is the title track of the album, “The Process Of Conversion” and what is most refreshing about it is that finally it seems the band has found a way to carve out its own unique identity for songwriting. Here Ninetail certainly sounds influenced by all the earlier aforementioned but stand up as a group trying to make their own unique mark and matter-of-factly getting the job done.

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