Based on my lukewarm feelings about "Haymaker", I was prepared to give THROWDOWN's "Vendetta" a mediocre review. I seem to be one of the few that weren't knocked on their asses by the 2003 release. The album has its moments, but seems to drag at times; something about those extra thick, breakdownish grinding parts I guess. By contrast, the very first spin of "Vendetta" felt like a 2x4 upside the noggin. You won't find one goddamn second of drag on this bare-knuckled bastard. It's 11 vicious blows to the head, a concussion similar to the one doled out by TERROR's "One with the Underdogs".In this case, metallic hardcore seems a more accurate description than hardcore or metalcore. While it is not necessarily inaccurate to call "Vendetta" a hardcore album, the metallic edges are quite sharp, the aggressive riffing (tone and all) often bringing to mind the fire of PANTERA. Songs like "Discipline" sport copious amount of that Texas heat — not so much from a technical standpoint, of course, but more in the way of general delivery. Matt Mentley's riffs on all 11 tracks are friggin' ravenous. When the odd guitar solo is unleashed, such as on "Give My Life", it's quick and dirty, but of the high impact variety. The occasional squealie is thrown out there for good measure as well. When a slow-to-mid tempo riff grind does appear on "Annihilation (N.W.D.)", the result is far more crushing than what is heard on "Haymaker". The songs that really set things ablaze though are the faster tempo ones (for instance, "We Will Rise", "Burn", "This is Where it Ends", and the title track). Vocalist Dave Peters tosses his metal hat into the ring too, stretching his scream-shout into an agonizing Anselmo shriek. Peters gets assistance from Howard Jones (KILLSWITCH ENGAGE) on "The World Behind", making an already deadly approach that much more lethal. HATEBREED's F. Sean Martin makes a guest appearance on "Shut You Down". Finally, the hard-hitting production comes courtesy of — surprise, surprise — Zeuss, while the mastering is done by — surprise, surprise — Alan Douches. Hey, the pair is good at what they do, so who wouldn't want 'em on their album? I could end by saying that "Vendetta" is the height of aggression or the epitome of rage, but I've come up with a more apt description: motherfucker.
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