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Imagika – Feast for the Hated

Label: Locomotive Records
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba

Locomotive is a more than a fitting name for a record label that has put out some of this years best metal albums (Pyramaze, Saint Deamon) as Imagika now adds some fresh diesel to the engine that will keep this freight train of a label charging on through the night at high speed. Hailing from the Bay Area of San Francisco, California, these guys have thrash metal in their veins and truly unleash it more than ever on their latest platter “Feast for the Hated”. This is the bands sixth album and one thing that continues to impress me is their consistency of putting out above average albums year after year. The band first caught my attention with 2004’s “Devil’s On Both Sides” which left a great first impression. Two albums later I feel the band may be at their peak right now as they continue crafting their excellent hybrid brand of metal. While this album is super thrashy, the power elements are still there and very effective.
“Waking A Dead Man” is just brilliant with its Annihilator-like opening taking me back to “Alice In Hell”, starting off slow and creepy before exploding into a thrash metal frenzy. Vocally, Norman Skinner reminds me a bit of Matthew Barlow from Iced Earth at times when delivering his forceful verses and high pitched screams not just here but throughout the album. Just when you are preparing to get up after the first track knocks you on your ass, “Your Creator” knocks you right back down and stomps a mud hole in you. The Barlow influence is really present in this track as Skinner deliver’s a much lower steady vocal on his verses. The power/thrash hybrid is showcased at its finest on the third track, “Bleed As One Appease The Gods”. The guitar work on this track is just incredible, a true shred fest calling to mind Bay Area greats like Testament and Forbidden. Just when you think that things are going to slow down on the title track with a softer opening and calm singing the band swallows several jet alert tablets at the 1:30 mark and kicks the energy back into high gear.

Overall the band has left me impressed again with this fine offering. I find that this band does more for me than the majority of Thrash metal revivalists coming out over the past 2 years or so like Warbringer, Municipal Waste, and Toxic Holocaust. Not quite at main event status, I feel that Imagika falls somewhere in the mid card rankings of heavy metal and might stay there. There is nothing wrong with this position as the band will likely continue releasing strong consistent albums. When it comes to Imagika you basically know what you are going to get and that is a great hybrid of thrash and power metal. Whether or not they will push the envelope and release a timeless classic that will raise the bar remains to be seen.
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