July 17, 2008 | | 3.5

F5, The Reckoning

I remember hearing a few tracks from F5’s debut release a few years ago and the urge to pour battery acid into my ears to remove any remnants of what I had heard. Thankfully, those thoughts haven’t shown up after listening to the band’s sophomore effort The Reckoning. Shifting from the nu-metal sound that F5 started out with, they have now taken on more thrash and progressive elements, delivering a pretty decent slab of heavy metal.

Throughout the disc the listener is presented with fairly straight forward mid-tempo thrash in addition to smoother, cleaner melodic elements. This combination makes for memorable tracks that contain enough of an aggressive punch to really get into. The rhythms are beefy and rolling while the twin guitarist showcase a solid mastery of their weapons. I wasn’t expecting much from this album (based on my previous experiences with them), but have come out of this pleasantly surprised.

No Excuse
The album’s opening track starts off with some nice guitar work and beefy rhythms that immediately shifts into the first lead at the :15 second point — it’s an impressive one as well. The vocals are pretty clean, but have enough angst and aggression to them. Another lead comes in at 1:12 and is pretty searing as well. Overall, “No Excuse” is a solid opener.

I Am The Taker
“I Am The Taker” starts off with some noise before some distant guitars come in. As the track builds the drums become a rolling juggernaut and solid riffing chugs along. There’s a definite melodic edge to this one that works well with the beefier rhythms. The chorus is catchy, as well.

The Reckoning
The title track starts off with some nice riffing and thundering rhythms. There is some real nice drum work throughout the song. The chorus is certainly catchy and memorable. There’s definitely a commercial feel to this one, but still has a nice edge to it. There’s a sick solo at the 2:18 mark.

Rank And File
Shifting riffs from speaker to speaker adds a nice change of pace as the band settles into some serioiusly chugging guitars and heavy drum work. I’m definitely digging the groove to this one. This is probably my favorite track on the album.

Love Is Dead
A nice bit of guitar work gets the pace moving along on “Love is Dead.” It’s not a bad track and does feature some nice guitar work around the 1:20 and 2:35 points, but the topic just isn’t doing it for me.

Through Hell
Thick rhythms and a chugging tempo get “Through Hell” pushing through the speakers nicely. This song has a pretty nice chorus and some slick leads. The vocal delivery overall has a nice aggressive edge to them.

Wake Up
A soaring lead starts off this next track as the vocals come in. There’s some nice rolling bass throbbing throughout the duration of this one as both guitarists do a little showing off for everyone’s benefit. There’s a brief bit of acoustic guitar with a Mediterranean feel before another sick solo swallows it whole.

Cause For concern
“Wake Up” builds rather slowly from some reverb. The group quickly gets into a pretty powerful, chugging tempo with slick guitars along the way. There are a variety of vocal deliveries throughout this one that add some much needed depth. Check out the crazy lead at the 2:25 mark.

My End
Slick guitar work gets this one started as thundering drums pound away. The chorus on this one is memorable as well. There is a bunch of great guitar work throughout this song along with some nice tempo shifts.

The opening guitar work for “Control” has an eerie feel to it, but doesn’t quite reach evil as the band shifts into some massive riffing and heavy drum work. The sound to that chugging riffing sound familiar, but i can’t quite place it. Overall, this one has a more aggressive feel, but doesn’t abandon the melodic elements that they have used through the rest of the album. The lead at 2:30 is bad ass and shouldn’t be missed.

Final Hour
“Final Hour” rounds out a pretty decent album. The track starts off with some reverb and noise as it builds slowly up to a nice chugging pace and thick bass. This one has the most aggressive chorus by far. We also hear layered vocals for the first time on the album, something I think a few of the other tracks could have used to push them that much further.

~ ~ ~

After a an unimpressive first album, F5 have made up for it with their sophomore release The Reckoning. Combining melodic elements with influences from thrash and progressive, the group has definitely hit on something memorable and heavy — showcasing the band members’ talents at just the right moment on every song. If you’re in the mood from some straight forward heavy metal without the gurgles and growls or mosh heavy breakdowns, then F5 is exactly what you need.

Favorite Tracks:
I Am The Taker
The Reckoning
Rank And File
My End

Additional Notes: