"Dispute the Truth" by Los Angeles' CERBERUS is Swedish melodic death metal with a dab of heavy American thrash, and it is done right. Tried and true, yes, but executed skillfully with solid songwriting and an overall toughness and spirit that makes for a very enjoyable listen.
The follow up to "The Cage of Existence" (on Hell and Death Records) and last year's "What Have We Become" EP benefits from a thick and warm sound from producer Zack Ohren (LIGHT THIS CITY, ALL SHALL PERISH, ANIMOSITY). Vocalist John Guettler sports a mid-range, intelligible growl that is a welcome change from the slew of Lindberg imitators, while guitarists Lanny Perelman (rhythm) and Sean Olk (lead) come up with strong melodies and the occasional solo only when the song calls for it. The rhythm section of drummer Roger Watson and bassist Marcus Cohen is tight and offers a kind of rubbery low-end texture that sounds great. Overall, the combination of instrument clarity and a certain indefinable, spirited vibe makes for an album that, for lack of a better description, feels good.
Song-wise, there are opportunities galore to get that head banging, most notably on album, opening cuts "Cancer" and "Forced Choice". One trio of songs in particular is worthy of mention for collectively forming the album's highlight section. "All I'm Able", "Filthy Few" (perhaps the album's best), and "In Contempt" rock hard and offer the listener fairly catchy melodies without any softening of the band's heavy edge. The album does begin to drag, just a hair, toward the end, owing to a style that becomes a little too familiar, but that has nothing to do with a weakening in songwriting.
Nowadays you can throw a rock out of a car window and hit a band playing this style of metal. Fortunately, you'll still hit a few that perform with gusto and bust out some pretty decent songs. CERBERUS is one of those bands and while they may not wow anyone from an originality standpoint, they still serve up some hot and tasty metal.