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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

X World / 5

New Universal Order

Review by Gary Hill

You could consider this group to be a heavy metal supergroup. It’s got Reeves Gabrels (Tin Machine), King Diamond guitarist Andy La Rocque, ex-Hammerfall bassist Magnus Ros and Pagan's Mind vocalist Nils K. Rue. As you might guess the music has elements of all those bands. It’s a debut and therefore can be given some slack. Taking just about any song from this disc by itself it doesn’t really need that consideration. But the overall musical motif is fairly monolithic and the formula gets old before it’s over – so we need to cut them the slack and understand that there will be growing pains. Essentially what we have here is a very good album from musicians who are probably capable of giving us a great one. It’s an excellent start and shows a lot of promise for the future.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Cyber Christ
This comes in with an almost techno texture. As it pounds out into the song proper this is very heavy and reminds me of Queensryche meets Powerman 5000. It’s a killer track and has some Halford-like screams at points. I also hear King Diamond at points, but of course, that makes sense. There’s an odd little interlude late in the track. While I think it takes away from the number a bit, it’s very short, so only a minor detail.
Man Machine
Feeling even meaner than the opener, this has a more stripped away texture. I can hear some Godsmack in this. It’s angry and rather punk oriented. There’s a more melodic section on the track that’s a nice touch. The vocals are fairly catchy. I’m not crazy about the first guitar solo as it’s too noisy. 
Charge To War
Starting with a mellower, rather melodic texture, this pounds out into a techno based metal jam from there. As this is built into a full song we get some nearly death-like growling that I don’t really like. The King Diamond comparisons are valid on this. There are parts of this I enjoy a lot, but overall I’d say this track is a little too “noise” oriented for my tastes. 
Alien March
You might call this “science fiction metal.” It’s got a space age texture to it, but is seriously hard edged. I can hear Powerman 5000 at times on this, but it’s also meaner than that. There are some mellower breaks on this, but overall it really stomps. It’s also got some of the most accessible vocals. I really like this a lot. It’s one of my favorites on the album. 
A Cryptic Message
Here’s another scorching metal meets techno journey. There’s almost a groove to this one. It’s got one of the strongest vocal arrangements and is another highlight of the disc. I like the breakdown on the tune and especially the guitar solo in the midst of it. 
Crooked Cross
There’s more of a pure techno texture to this one and it feels very evil. It’s another good piece, but the formula is starting to feel a bit thin by this point. 
Lunar Voyage
This is more ambient in texture. As such it presents a piece of variety. It’s just a song too late. I’d have to call this “space rock meets epic metal.” There’s some Man of War in this along with King Diamond (both of which show up when they power it up). Later in the track we get some killer instrumental work with some of the tastiest guitar work on show here. I’d consider this one a highlight of the set. 
This is fairly brutal and frantic. It’s also a bit too much like the rest of the music here and seems to suffer from the monolithic nature of the disc. By this point I’m just hoping for something different. 
New Eden
More purely techno this is another piece of variety. It’s too bad there weren’t more changes along this ride because it would have made for a great disc instead of just a very good one. There’s a killer dramatic, mysterious metal mode later. This is one of the best tracks on show here and goes a long way to elevating this before they end it.
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