Back To Reality


CMC International Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


While listening to Back To Reality, the latest disc from Slaughter, for the tenth time today, I got to thinking that this was probably the perfect title for the disc. After all, the band was coming off of the tragic death of guitarist Tim Kelly and the tour which showed the band's resilience hiring guitarist Jeff Blando.

But now, the accolades were gone, and the band had to settle in and prove that they could rock as hard as they did in their glory days. Back To Reality proves not only that Blando is more than a suitable replacement for Kelly, but that the band has lost very little of the magic they've carried throughout their career.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Their style has changed little from the days of Stick It To Ya, though they don't gravitate towards the ballad that much these days. Sure, there are the gentler numbers, like "Love Is Forever," which is a very pretty song that has more than a little bite to it, and the instrumental "Silence Of Ba" is an incredible piece of work that I wish they had expanded on for a lot longer than this track lasts.

But when it comes time to let shred, the band - Blando, vocalist/guitarist Mark Slaughter, bassist Dana Strum and drummer Blas Elias - still know how to lay down the groove and lock the listener in for the duration. While the album gets off to a weak start with "Killin Time," the band quickly bounces back with tracks like "All Fired Up," "Dangerous," "Bad Groove" and "Trailer Park Boogie".

And anyone who wrote Slaughter off as being a lightweight metal band from the '80s needs to sit down and let this disc overtake you. Hey, I wasn't that fond of Slaughter in their glory days (never mind the fact I have all but two of their albums in my collection), but the band has constantly found ways to impress me, and Back To Reality is no exception.

While you can gleam some of the band's magic on just one listen, Back To Reality is the kind of disc that begs for repeat performances. It is with multiple listens that this album shows both its absolute power and absolute beauty, and the disc is strong enough that it holds up to near constant play without getting tired-sounding.

Slaughter even does the right thing regarding bonus tracks - it starts almost immediately after the last song, "Nothin' Left to Lose," fades into nothingness, and you don't have to wade through 50 tracks of silence. It's a bizarre little ditty they slapped onto the end of this disc, but it's kind of fun to listen to.

If metal is truly making a comeback, I have no doubt that Slaughter is going to be leading the charge into the future. Back To Reality is a disc that proves to both the band and the listener that reality can indeed be a pretty thing to behold.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of CMC International Records, and is used for informational purposes only.