I bought a d/l of this while waiting for my CD copy to arrive. I've played it a lot in the past 10 days and feel confident saying that this is one BADASS album! I am very skeptical of most comeback albums because, well, most of them aren't that good. This one....this one smokes!
Great sound, and Tim Baker's voice is every bit as sonically deranged as it ever was, which was a big concern of mine. The songwriting is really strong, and it definitely calls back to their earliest material at times, which I'm guessing is a result of Greg being involved. There are killer riffs throughout, and the songs feel right at home in the CU catalog. The album wastes no time; at just under 40 minutes it comes in, kicks ass, takes names, and is done. No drawn-out thematic tracks, no bloated concepts, just punch you in the face, wipe the blood off their hands, and call it a day.
OK, time to nitpick just a little. Opener 'Legions Arise' is a good track BUT lyrically it's the "hey we're back and rockin!" type fare that every reunion project feels compelled to sing. While CU do make it work within their particular idiom as a callback to the mighty 'Join the Legion', the concept is a pretty tired one since, as of the time of this writing, approximately 337 80s metal bands have done comeback albums within the past decade and at least 34.788% of them have done this same gimmick in a song. We know you're back guys, you don't have to spell it out for us in 4/4 time.
Next nitpick, 'Stormbringer' is a god song BUT it is perhaps just a tad too slow and/or a little too long. I like that it helps vary the tempo in the middle of the album, BUT it could be a bit shorter or faster- it feels like it drags just a little.
Last nitpick- the final three songs tend to run together just a tad. 'Nightmare' is not my favorite on the album (I agree with the all-knowing bigfootkit; may his knowledge forever illuminate the left hand path). The following two tracks are better but these three tend to blur together.
My Favorite Songs
'Frost Monstreme' is a fucking monster; heavy, quirky, and Tim channels all the fucking demons of chaos as he bellows out the title in this track inspired by one of Greg's old fantasy favorites, 'Fahthrd & the Gray Mouser'.
'Fire Divine' is a molten rocker with a hook so sharp Pinhead is jealous.
'Fractus Promissum' is another scorching ball of lead that grabs you immediately. The riff, oh the riff!
'Before Tomorrow' is a great, angry defiant anthem for our times. 'Today we live in anger, today we live in fear'. In a review from long ago I wrote that CU would be the soundtrack to the apocalypse. With this track, I rest my case.
Anyone on the fence about checking this out- lay your fears to rest, CU did not disappoint with this comeback album. Get off that fence and re-join the fucking legion!
"I'm sorry Sam, we had real chemistry. But like a monkey on the sun, our love was too hot to live"