If ever there was an album that was trying to cram a pint into a half pint glass, 'IV' is it. There are bits of thrash Metal, death Metal and seemingly every other sort of Metal thrown into its pot along with a fair dollop of shred too, most notably on 'Auctioneer Of Souls' (with its claimed twenty guitarists). The vocals illustrate this perfectly: they alternate between black grunting, a Rammsteinesque baritone and clean and octave scaling, sometimes in the same song, which gets a tad irritating.
This scatter gun approach does not work all the time, leaving the album a little unsatisfying, but there are killer tracks nonetheless.
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Oh yes, try 'The Wake Of Betrayal', 'What Have I', with its STP drive, and 'Samsara' - they are all high quality neighbour baiters. 'Hands Of The Wicked' has a nice middle eastern thing going on, and opener 'Diabolical' sets the pace, leaving you in no doubt that what is to follow will be pretty damn solid.
Other tracks have you wishing the band would stop being so clever, let the song off its leash, put their heads down and just go for it. To be honest, there are no bad tracks on 'IV', but nor are there enough grit grabbers to make it the top notch Metal album that SBT wants it to be.
The talent of Single Bullet Theory is not in doubt here and, rather than wasting time proving an established point, a tighter focus would have seen the band create the killer album they are obviously more than capable of producing.
'IV' is no bad effort, perhaps it is a bit of an intense smorgasbord of styles that prevents the album from finding a groove and keeping it, but if they can remedy that, then their next album will be an absolute monster and Single Bullet Theory major stage contenders.
I think the boys can stow their last bullets for now.