One Man Army and the Undead Quartet

Grim Tales

Written by: EW on 24/11/2008 22:48:38

As I'm sure every man and his dog knows by now, One Man Army & The Undead Quartet (OMA from henceforth) is the band formed by Johan Lindstrand upon the dissolution of The Crown back in 2004, which if third album "Grim Tales" is anything to go by sees Mr. Lindstrand move slightly away from the groove and punch of The Crown to a more melodic, In Flames territory. Those mega Gothenburgers are without doubt the main point of reference for the twin-laden guitar rhythm of a number of tracks here, but when one isn't instinctively picking up signals of a fiery nature the tone is still very much svenska, with At The Gates, The Haunted and the aforementioned Crown all being referenced in the mid-paced attack that is "Grim Tales".

As if OMA wished one to know where they have derived greatest personal inspiration, first track proper (following the obligatory instrumental introduction which at least is worth it's plastic) "Misfit With A Machinegun" features a chorus so In Flames Anders Friden & co should consider patenting their uniquely melodic style. When at times I remember I am infact not listening to "Colony" or "Clayman" the more aggressive Haunted and Crown give added kick to "Saint Lucifer" and my album highlight "The Frisco Reaper". Depending on one's point of view, the In Flames obsession (thankfully) wanes during the second half of the album across a number of songs like the Slayer-ish "Bonebreaker Propaganda" and that most clearly descended from The Crown, "Make Them Die Slowly", before OMA close shop with an IF cover - "Bastards Of Monstrosity". Sorry my mistake, that’s not actually cover, who knew. Please do excuse my antipathy to the widespread pillaging of the In Flames vault but with all of it going on these days they must be the second most plagiarised band in extreme metal save for Slayer, a situation staggering considering the uniquity in which In Flames operated in late 90s/early 00s.

In "Grim Tales" OMA have made a perfectly listenable metal record that is indeed somewhere in the worryingly crowded field of good-very good records which will garner a batch of initial listens, before another similar sounding band creeps into your record collection to push OMA out of favour. What OMA can do to push this mark upwards is not as easy as toning down on the worshipping going on here, that can still result in high marks, but have more confidence in departing from many of metal’s clichés they have subconsciously or not found themselves meeting. A little more inventiveness in the structure and colours of OMA could turn this band from ‘reassuringly good’ to ‘great’. The reassuringly good mark follows.

Download: Make Them Die Slowly, Misfit With A Machinegun
For The Fans Of: In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, The Crown
Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.10.08
Massacre Records

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