Like luchadores of horror metal, Terror Universal’s masked mayhem features sonic acrobatics that are nearly stadium-sized.
Born of current and former members of Machine Head, Upon a Burning Body, Ill Niño, and Soulfly, they have followed up 2015’s Reign of Terror EP with a polished debut, entitled Make Them Bleed. The pedigree of the players is evident in the tight, vibrant playing, beginning with the hook-laden chorus of “Passage of Pain (Blood)” with its nods to the masked brethren of Slipknot. The electro-blasts of “Spines” are rock-radio ready, and “Dead on Arrival” channels menace via synths and vocal effects, although it relies heavily on an anthemic chorus that travels a well-worn path.
The masked appearance, seismic playing, and a style that runs the gamut from Slipknot to Disturbed provide a great deal to work with on Make Them Bleed. That said, such peer-worship comes with its drawbacks, including an overarching feeling of familiarity, overt accessibility, and a lack of unique vision and delivery. The sound is somewhat recycled, and the style has so many contemporary, mainstream touch points that it lacks the true, unrivaled personality such decorated players should deliver.
Make Them Bleed is overtly listenable, and this is no joke. Unfortunately, though, the most dangerous aspect of Terror Universal is the masks.
Make Them Bleed is out January 19 on minus HEAD Records. Buy it here!