Remember Anthrax & Public Enemy? Remember the Judgment Night soundtrack (check it out if you have never heard it)? Remember when the worlds of hip hop and metal collaborated freely and pleased fans of both genres before nu metal came along and ruined it. Well, crossover crew Rise Of The North Star my be a little young to remember those days, but they have brought those days back to life with this, their first full length release, and backed up by a label like Nuclear Blast, they could be onto something big.
The album starts with a calm, clean guitar intro in the vein of ‘Don’t Cry’ or ‘Fade To Black’, but the serenity doesn’t last too long. The chaos soon crashes in and sets the tone for the rest of the record, bringing together a furious mixture of Biohazard, Madball, Downset and Onyx. The title track follows and even throws in a little hint of a Cypress Hill sample to really take you back. As the album progresses, there are tracks like ‘Dressed Inn All Black’ and ‘Again And Again’ which showcase the bands style and influence perfectly. Huge riffs, gang vocals and massive breakdowns all mix together to bring all kind of memories flooding back for me.
There are a couple of tracks that don’t quite live up to the high standard of the rest of the album, namely ‘Samurai Spirit’, which in its own isn’t a bad track, just in my opinion stands out as weaker than the rest of the offerings on here. They throw in a spectacular cover of Pharoah Monche’s ‘Simon Says’ and also take on some old school thrash in the shape of ‘The New Path’. As a whole it just about sums up the mid 90’s in metal, and does a damn fine job in doing so. The clean guitars come back again during a bonus track at the end of album closer ‘Blast ‘Em All’, which rounds off “Welcame” nicely.
Overall, the album is a great success. They have made an album that is heavy, catchy, angry and most of all, really enjoyable. Bringing together all of these separate influences could have lead to an unoriginal, confused dated mess, but they have managed to keep the whole thing sounding fresh and relevant. As good as it sounds on record, you know that these tunes will really come to life in the live arena, and the more I listened to this, the more I have become determined to catch the band when they come over here next.