No Return

Manipulated Minds

Written by: EW on 10/09/2008 08:57:47

Call me big-headed but its not often my knowledge of metal lets me down, and as such that includes knowing about the bands that need to be known about, or at least those that have been round long enough in order to have earned some listening time in my hallowed stereo of metal. But here I am reviewing an album by a French Thrash/Death band, formed in 1989, releasing their 7th album, and yet I've never even heard of them. No Return have been peddling the boards for an awfully long time, and much credit to them for having the persistence to so, but does "Manipulated Mind" show the reason for their lack of success or the sign of a band that have just been in the wrong places, at the wrong times?

The answer is a bit of both. "Manipulated Mind" is a sterling solid effort of metal that at times leans closer to At The Gates and Hypocrisy influenced death metal and towards Testament and Sadus thrash metal at others. "Rising", in all its Tomas Lindberg and Bjorler-twin-brothers melodic lead riff pairing, hurtles along at a reasonable pace with mid-paced choruses in which the excellent instrumental work of the band is prominently displayed. The Sadus side to No Return is a fair comparison for the rough-edged thrash of their output found in the likes of "Puzzle of Life", but it is Sweden where the collective mining mainly takes place as in the title-track, "New Items" and "Out of Control" the hammering blasts of Hypocrisy and The Haunted stand out beneath Moreno Grosso's mid-pitched roar. Like all old-school DM-sounding records, the pace is never fast, or at least by modern DM standards. Tempos vary to create a collection of songs that are all good in their own rights and I at least have not become bored over a number of listens.

All this may leave one wondering why No Return have not established their place in the metal scene outside of France. "Manipulated Mind" is not groundbreaking, and it could be surmised from this album that past efforts won't have been too, but then we all know of countless bands who have made it without doing anything remotely new. This can only lead one to feel No Return will not have been helped by their location in France, strangely having never being a hotbed for metal, as well as missing the coattails of the Thrash wave by the early 90s. Whatever the hell, illegally downloading albums like "Manipulated Mind" is of biggest detriment to bands such as No Return, so to check out some gratifyingly solid Thrash/Death Metal I trust you know which link to be clicking below.

Download: Rising, Out of Control, New Items
For The Fans Of: At the Gates, Hypocrisy, Sadus
Listen: Myspace

Release date 21.09.2008
Dockyard 1/Locomotive

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