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20/20

   
       
       
       
     
             
Smackbound are a metal band from Finland, formed in 2015 by singer Netta Laurenne, and featuring members from Wintersun, Stratovarius and Tracedawn. The bands debut album '20/20' was released in, ahem, 2020...    
             
...although the title reflects "20/20 vision" rather than the year of release. Displaying a number of metal traits, '20/20' features a lot of emotion, aggression and attitude across its forty minutes run time. Opening with the fast and furious 'Wall Of Silence' - which is anything but silent - Netta and company blaze into sight, with mighty incendiary devices going off in all directions. The avalanche of aggression is overwhelming, with Netta's snarling vocal delivery sending shivers down the spine. 'Wall Of Silence' is heavy hitting heavy metal with a massive helping of punk-ish attitude, and a ferocious vocal performance. What an opening... And just as different as chalk and cheese, 'Drive It Like You Stole It' is different to 'Wall Of Silence' - to the extent it sounds like a different band! A much more melodic hard rock feel takes over, with a really sexy and husky vocal delivery from Netta. Oh the knees are going weak... 'Drive It Like You Stole It' is a great effort - and effort, emotion, heart and soul has been poured into the album - with 'Close To Sober' showing the angelic side of Netta's voice. A more mellow beginning suggests we have a power ballad coming, but nope - the longer it rolls on 'Close To Sober' takes on a progressive cum alternative rock/metal vibe.    
             
Three songs in, and three different styles - Smackbound are not afraid to show their musical diversity, having one hundred percent confidence in what they do. Maybe not quite a "couldn't give a fuck" attitude, but the band actually couldn't give a fuck about what listeners think - they just do their own thing, like it, or fucking lump it! 'Run' brings heavy hitting metal back to the fore, smacking you around the head with savage riffage and thunderous drummage. And that voice...just wow. So wide ranging and with so much power... And here's the mellow feel again, the angelic vocal delivery again, and the feel of an impending power ballad again, as 'The Game' slowly wakes up and turns in an emphatic, cinematic performance with so much power fuse boxes the world over are gonna blow. 'Those Who Burn' is an attitude laden rumble, a very hard hitting rock/metal song that is so infectious and addictive, you're gonna find yourself involuntarily head nodding and foot stomping. Yes it's that addictive, and when Netta growls the lyric "I don't give a fuck" - I believe her!!! And I must admit I'm a sucker for a sexy voice and Netta's voice is right up there with Chloe (Sister Shotgun), Aura (Scarlet Aura), Nicole (Miracle Flair), Chiara (Moonlight Haze), and my all time fantasy metal icon, the Queen of Metal herself Doro. And what an anthem 'Hey Motherfuckers' is. Punching hard and kicking harder, 'Hey Motherfuckers' is anthemic metal of the most severe nature, and c'mon, the crowd singing along to the chorus of "hey motherfuckers" is gonna be fucking amazing.    
             
Smackbound have proven, across the first two thirds of their debut album, that they are adept at all styles of metal/rock, with no fear of experimenting... And in the thundering shape of 'Troublemaker', the fastest song on offer and showing thrash metal traits - Smackbound deliver a vicious smack around the head that's gonna knock you into next week! And that aggressive roar of Netta's voice is so intoxicating... Although the roar is dropped in favour of a purr, as 'Date With The Devil' strides forth like the power metal romp it is. With a soaring chorus hitting the heady heights of the symphonic metal genre, Smackbound are again stretching their musical direction far and wide. What an effort. What an album. And what a singer... As an old saying goes, "all good things come to an end", and so does this album, but not without yet another surprise. The keyboard led 'Wind And Water' features the most angelic and knee weakening vocal performance the album has to offer. Intoxicating is an understatement - all consuming may be a better term to use, for Netta's voice is a voice I could listen to all day everyday and never get bored. Well, we can all have hopes and dreams can't we...    
             
Overall, a superb album of metal/rock at its most varied, Smackbound serve up a gourmet gathering of songs that are simply stunning.    
             
             
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
             
Reviewed For Metal Gods TV    
             
             
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