Idols Are Dead - Mean (SPV/Riot)

Italian rockers Idols Are Dead are lucky that I tend to ignore the promo stickers on album covers. Mentioning, amongst others, Metallica, Exodus and Megadeth, the band was definitely being set up for a fall; but luckily for them, their brand of metal hits hard and fast. More importantly, it has a real sense of rhythm and pace.

Mean, the debut album for Idols Are Dead, is short and sharp - just nine songs. Except for one bad cover choice (and even that is passable) they’ve taken their influences and laid out a swaggering, riff laden slab of powerful, melodic thrash.

From the opener This Is Not The End, where the band comes out swinging with a song dripping with hooks, but still heavy enough to grab your attention, through Dance With The Devil and Pain For Sale, this is a band that doesn’t hide its influences.  There’s more than a touch of James Hetfield in Vocalist Mana’s style and drummer Luka isn’t afraid of chucking in the odd Lars Ulrich fill either.  But the band isn’t really emulating Metallica or any of the other bands mentioned, as much as using them as a touchstone. The sound still hits hard but is laden with hooks, with choruses that you’ll instantly be singing along to.

The only real stumble is the band’s cover version of Guns’n’Roses' It’s So Easy. It’s not a bad version, just a pointless one, adding nothing at all to the song and, if anything, highlighting the band’s weaknesses.  When Axl snarls 'Fuck You', there’s a real feeling of vehemence, of hate; when Mana sings it, he’s like a naughty altar boy. 

Luckily, The Name Of My Rage follows straight after, smacking you in the head with a sound straight from Corrosion Of Conformity, circa Blind, before Proud To Be Sick and Twiggy dance on your body.

This is a pretty solid effort. True, the band veers this side of really letting go, but they still manage to unleash some solid modern thrashing sounds ala Trivium, while having enough pop/rock sensibilities to trigger comparisons to Brides Of Destruction and COC.

To put it in simple terms, this is an album that will definitely be getting more than a little thrashing on the beer shed stereo! 'Nuff said.

Idols are Dead's Mean is out now on SPV/Riot.