Cost of Freedom
That Knoxville's Downslave is somewhat derivative of a certain now-defunct power-metal outfit with a deceased guitar player (rhymes with: Mantera) shouldn't deter anyone who appreciates real metal from picking up this local release, impeccably produced by Gwar guitarist Cory Smoot, aka Flattus Maximus. If anything, by record's end you'll want to personally fist-bump vocalist Brad Parker and double-bass wunderkind Scott Campbell for their bravura performances. Parker, in fact, sounds frighteningly similar to a young Phil Anselmo, which is no mean feat. He boasts not only the same leonine roar, but the same craggy dynamic range, the simmering baritone, and all of his raspy nuances.
Guitarists Scotty Kirkland and Dalton Cochrane have plenty of lead chops, and ample facility with speedy rhythms, too. They don't play rhythm with the same ZZ Top-by-way-of-Slayer flair as Dimebag Darrell—and to be fair, no one does—but that's actually a blessing. The straight-ahead rhythms give Downslave some needed separation from that Little (Metal) Band from Texas. And a band with this much to offer deserves to be heard on its own merits.