Artist: Strain 
   Title: Strain
   Label: Total Impact Records

Bolton based Strain have followed their recent self title demo 'Strain' with the album simply entitled ‘Strain’ (!).  The band deliver what they themselves describe as Crust Metal, which to me is a mix of Stoner Rock with a touch of Hardcore thrown in for good measure.

The one outstanding feature of the whole Strain sound is the gruff angst filled vocals of frontman P.C, who along with Al Soudah and Mas Chiswala on guitars, Bill Halliwell on bass and completing the line-up Sandy on drums, deliver no holds barred menacing metal.

The album gets underway with ‘Get It In Yer’ and instantly the vocals of P.C make their mark from this point on.  You will either continue with the album as your drawn into the full angst power and turmoil of the whole Strain vibe, or you will be instantly turned off.  That’s the two choices you get with the band, you will either love them, or hate them.  There are no half measures with this band, the choice is yours.

The album continues with ‘Something More’, one of my favourite tracks from the earlier EP which you catch P.C at a more sedate vocal state, while still retaining that intensity, but it’s the pounding rhythm section and the streaming guitars on the track that really do it for me.  Very akin to Testament, Slayer and Pantera and all, hard and heavy.

The band really come into their own with the next track ‘That Which I Despise’, as the streaming guitar are led by a thumping bass and kick drum into the unmistakable P.C on vocals.  This track takes the Pantera sound and turns it on its head and delivers a lot more aggression and force.

The album never sways from the hard and heavy feel from the word go and delivers some of the most intense metal you will hear around today.  The album continues with the darkened sound of ‘April’ and the thunderous tones of ‘Bad Day’.  Other tracks of note are the doom laden ‘Numero Uno’ the almost Sabbath-esq bass ridden ‘Dead Would?’, where P.C once again shows a lighter side to his vocals, if only briefly, then theirs the slight heavy funk sound of ‘Not Like You’.

As a debut album this self titled effort will get the European market excited as for the UK the market is somewhat smaller and the band should venture across the North Sea and capture the very fruitful Scandinavian metal market place where I’m sure the band could get a few European Festival dates under their belts. 


1. Get It In Yer
2. Something More
3. That Which I Despise
4. April
5. Bad Day
6. Numero Uno
7. T.I.O.T.
8. Dead Would?
9. Not Like You
10. Beneath The Surface
11. 152


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