The essence of a St. Madness record can be boiled down to a few simple things: melodic-based thrash metal, a twisted sense of humor and an unwavering commitment to heavy metal.
In that tradition, comes the latest edition of their smirking dark art, Canonizing Carnage. Like all St. Madness records, they don’t skimp on the product, cramming 17 songs onto one disc (which includes two covers).
Despite many lineup changes over the years, one position has remained a constant: vocalist and founder Prophet. The bearded one is front and center on this release as always. The rest of the band have since departed but on this record Heinous James was on guitar, Sircyko was the drummer and Devlin Luscius played bass.
If Ozzy (no disrespect intended to the Prince of Darkness) had singing lessons, he may sound like Prophet. There is a common singing-from-a-midnight-grave voice that is similar to John Michael Osbourne, however Prophet also utilizes a snarl that can conjure up a more abrasive assault on your ears on the more thrashy material.
The first single, as it were, from the record is possibly the strongest track. “M.D.B.” with its “Black Diamond”-ish intro, has some visceral riffing that sounds like a chainsaw. Lyrically Prophet pledges his loyalty to metal on this powerhouse song.
“Not of this World” is like a shark, hunting for prey, savage and relentless as is the title track, a particularly brutal piece of work. The trademark St Madness humor is evident on “She Used to Be My Girl”, where Prophet talks about unholy dalliances.
The two covers on the record work extremely well. “Comfortably Numb” benefits tremendously from the ratcheted-up guitars. It complements the original as a solid heavy mix alternative. Metallica’s “Seek and Destroy” is a pretty good addition to this record as well.
The boys in St. Madness are well-rounded enough to know you just can’t throw a blitzkrieg into every song. Each record has at least one song that lends some beauty to the brutality. In this case, it’s “AZ Woman” with it gorgeous intro. Although the snarly guitars power it up for the rest of the song, the melody is deathly beautiful. In addition, the instrumental, “He’s Dancing on His Grave” is a nice contrast to the rest of the hard-hitting material.
Like a great horror movie with an engaging plot, St Madness have created a very good record that works on both the musical and entertainment levels.