Album Reviews

Imagika – Portrait Of A Hanged Man

Released by Metallville – On March 19, 2010

Review Added May 13, 2010

Released: March 19th, 2010
Style: Progressive Thrash Metal

1. Scared To Death**
2. The Hit**
3. Keep The Wolves At Bay**
4. G H B**
5. Portrait Of A Hanged Man
6. Simple Servant
7. One Word**
8. My Final Hour
9. A God No More
10. Halo Of Flies
**Hot Tracks

Vocals – Norman Skinner
Guitar – Steve Rice
Guitar – Robert Kolowitz
Drums – Henry Moreno
Bass – Jim Pegram

The bay area thrash scene has born many a great talent that have gone on to be leaders of the metal movement and collectively sold more albums than you can imagine. Unfortunately when the topic of bay area thrash comes up, most people talk about guys like METALLICA, MEGADETH, EXODUS and TESTAMENT, but rarely will you hear mention of IMAGIKA. Obviously the fact that they didn’t surface until 1995 plays a big part in that, but now that they have released their seventh full-length album, which is strong enough to compete with any other thrash release of this year maybe now is the time for this band to gain the recognition they deserve. Over the course of their career, the band have been constantly updating and changing their approach slightly to find what works best. I think with PORTAIT, the formula is finally complete, with a main base of bay era style thrash, mixed with a bit of prog metal and some slight power metal influences, all while remaining obviously American.

There is a fair touch of modernism on the album and there is a few instances of seven-string chugging and blast-beat drumming, that while aren’t too obtrusive, are probably the weaker parts of the album for me. IMAGIKA sound best when they are churning out classic sounding thrash metal, not eighties classic though, think more along the lines of LOW era TESTAMENT classic and you’re somewhere near the ball-park. NORMAN SKINNER has a larger than life voice and his vocals remind me a lot of CHUCK BILLY but they also go into some high-pitch territory a-la BRUCE DICKINSON, an odd combination to be sure, but one that works excellently here. When SCARED TO DEATH was pumping out of my speakers it sounded like a perfect combination of LOW era TESTAMENT and MACHINE HEAD and was easily my favorite song on the album. I also found much joy in G H B that interestingly enough featured some growl vocals and some high-pitch vocals that really worked well together. ONE WORD, THE HIT and KEEP THE WOLVES AT BAY are a few other songs that found themselves on high rotation during my time with the album.

I can fully recommend this album to all metal fans far and wide, there is enough variation to keep most people happy, and fans of prog-laced thrash metal need this in their collection.

Written by Zeezee

Ratings Zeezee  9/10

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