Album Review: Confess – Revenge at all Costs

Album Review: Confess – Revenge at all Costs
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

Listening to assorted news clips at the start of this album brings home how much we take for granted. ‘Based on a True Story’, for that is the title of the piece, sets the scene for this third album by Iranian groove metal/hardcore outfit Confess. You may have read about them in some of the metal magazines, but in case you haven’t, Confess describe themselves as a ‘five-piece street protest’. These guys, in particular Nikan Khosravi (vocals/guitar) and Arash Ilkhani (DJ/Sampler) have experienced direct political persecution at the hands of the Iranian government. Surveillance, arrest and prison, with threats of execution for blasphemy followed before the pair obtained refugee status in Norway.

With two albums already under their belts, 2012’s Beginning of Dominion and In Pursuit of Dreams three years later, it’s taken seven years to reach this point. With such a background of oppression about something we take for granted, the temptation would be to avoid any criticism of this album and shine it up to the hilt. Well, we don’t roll like that here at The Razor’s Edge and we call a stinker a stinker. Thankfully, ‘Revenge at all Costs’ is a solid and rewarding record if you enjoy the likes of Lamb of God and Hatebreed. For it’s the combination of those styles, with a sprinkling of Slayer thrown in for good measure, that roars out of the speakers on opening salvo ‘EVIN’. The Slayer influence rips through the riff (‘Bloodline anyone’?) but once the song kicks off it’s just one sinewy brute that slams and rages. This is understandably angry stuff.

Having listened to the previous two albums, the instant impression is just how much Confess have upped their game. It’s as visceral and bruising as those first releases but with a controlled ferocity and big chunky riffs that are all contained in one huge balled up fist. Some of the credit is due to Erling Malm who produced and mastering from the legendary Machine, whose work with the likes of LOG and Suicide Silence provides a stellar touch.

Album Review: Confess – Revenge at all Costs

Now, it’s not all amazeballs. And if you don’t like your metal with lashings of groove, a few samples, and that hardcore roar then this is unlikely to be your bag. There is the potential for the tracks to blend into one, but such is the voracity on display that it’s easy enough to separate the songs and dive deep through the chainsaw guitar work that drives each track.

‘You can’t Tame the Beast’ slips into an even more aggressive pattern, the lyrics spew forth in relentless fashion whilst the groove combined with the soaring samples echo early Slipknot. Yes, it’s inevitable that comparisons are made for the Iowa outfit’s sound claws all over this song. It’s brutal enough to get by but you’ll likely knock marks off for the absence of originality. Still got the head nodding and an urge to break things though.

Whilst Confess follow a reasonably predictable pattern, this is an album that offers plenty. The grit of ‘Megalodon’ provides a slightly slower song, the sheer intensity of the crushing riffs bringing the heavy through weight rather than pace. It’s a track that would push you through that punishing workout if that’s your inclination.

‘Revenge at all Costs’ finishes with a pulverising double salvo. First we get the blistering ‘Army of Pigs’ which would do serous damage played live followed by the punch to the face finale of ‘I Speak hate’. This opens with a bear sized roar and riffs that hammer. There’s even a hint at melody for a few seconds before Confess finish with a drive at the jugular.

This isn’t an album for everyone. It’s formulaic, at times a little one-dimensional and draws deep on the influences of the bands that shaped the Confess approach. But it also a real act of defiance, a clenched fist that shows that music and art cannot be stifled. If you only listen to this once, then I’m sure Confess would be happy. But do give it a listen and appreciate the effort these dudes have put in. You may find the explosive savagery just what you wanted.

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