By: Garviel Loken
When you listen to a lot of modern metal, you tend to have trouble differentiating one album from the next. Overuse of the screamed verse and the pretty boy sung chorus, THAT one breakdown (you know which one I'm talking about, bro), and the same four or five blatantly plagiarized At the Gates riffs leave you adrift in the primordial sea of mediocrity. Luckily, Tucson's Lethal Dosage found a way to circumvent this hazard to navigation and sail out into open waters.
While by no means groundbreaking, their debut album is no small fish either. From the instrumental opening track to the piano driven outro, you are treated to a lean but meaty treat of groove and aggression. You hear that modern metal sound, but grittier and stripped down, with some thrash and death metal highlights thrown in for good measure. Guitarist Theodore Simon unleashes tight rhythms interwoven with subtle melodies as vocalist Daniel Davis growls like a deep throated catamount over them. Drummer Frank Chacon Jr. and bassist "Wild" Pepe Shepperd are locked in and pummeling, giving further drive to the music.
There are breakdowns that actually make sense here, check out songs such as Burn, Conquer The Mind and Kegger Lost to illustrate how Lethal Dosage can be catchy while caving your skull in. Having these qualities, the story does not end there as it might with other records. A further telling aspect, and perhaps the greatest, is how focused this album is. Within thirty five minutes, Lethal Dosage makes their musical statement and the message is quite clear: shut up and mosh. There are no fancy acrobatics or studio tricks. There is no cheese. What you hear is what you get, take it or leave it. This is an admirable quality in a genre where so many bands are trying to be more extreme or "heavier" than their peers, which leads to a lot of the music sounding forced and lacking in the sincerity department.
Lethal Dosage clearly enjoy the music they perform and bring to your ears by way of this album, which was recorded and mixed by Ryan Butler (Exhumed, Landmine Marathon) at Arcane Digital Studio in Chandler and mastered by Dave Shirk at the legendary Sonorous Mastering. "Inhale" is a very solid debut for this young band, showcasing their hunger for bigger and better things, and this attitude could see them jumping further ahead of the local metal scene (or beyond it) in the next few years.
Final Score: 7/10
Lethal Dosage: CD Baby