ENRAGED – Presence Of Fear

ENRAGED - Presence Of Fear


JCM Records
Release date: August 1, 2003

Guitars & Bass: B-
Percussion: B-
Vocals: D
Lyrics: C
Recording Quality: D
Originality: C+
Overall Rating: C-

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Imagine an understated stage with just the bare essentials present: An electric guitar, a bass guitar, a microphone stand, and a few short stacks of Marshall amplifiers on both sides of a 20-piece black drum kit with unblemished silver chrome. The lights go dim, the crowd waits in anticipation, and the band suddenly appears from nowhere, wailing away on each instrument like their very lives depended on how fast, how vicious, and how inspirational their playing can be demonstrated to the audience. 40 minutes into the show, amid 4 – $40 strobe lights directed at various angles towards drummer, Robert Blank, the same desire, rage, and inspiration continues to be demonstrated by the band, as the audience nearly self-combusts; heading towards full incineration. Whewwww!

This is the immediate image one gets when listening to Presence of Fear by the band Enraged. Impressive is the obvious love the band has for what they do. Clearly, they believe in their musical style and sound, and put every last ounce of their soul into every song. Enraged leaves nothing for the imagination…what you hear is what you get…it’s not all pretty, but you’ve got to respect the band for adopting a musical style, believing in it totally, and going “balls out” with their direction come hell or high water.

Enraged’s style is fast, unpolished, angry, and at times, unorganized. Throughout most of the album, vocalist Kevin Heath sings as if he’s weathering an appendage amputation without the requisite anesthetic – the lyrics are generally undecipherable and are uncompromisingly presented via raspy screams and growls. As you may have guessed by now, Presence of Fear is certainly not an album for everyone. For Headbangers who like semi-controlled/loosely-structured Heavy Metal mayhem, this album will likely be the rancid road kill breath of fresh air you’ve been looking for in a new entry to the Death Metal musical genre. With song titles such as “Fits of Rage”, “Waiting to Fall”, “Bury the Priest”, and “Dead Friend”, you get a pretty good idea of what you’re going to get when pop this CD in for a spin. There’s not a whole heckuva lot of tree-hugging, touchy-feely vibe emanating from the speakers when listening to Presence of Fear. Striving to be politically incorrect whenever possible…rumor had it recently that the U.S./British/Polish/Australian forces had been playing Metallica music to Iraqi citizens to “keep them subdued”. I assure you, if the military commanders of these troops had this Enraged CD at their disposal, the continued Iraqi resistance forces would have packed up their belonging and headed to Syria months ago!

A disappointment with this album is the production quality. There’s some really good guitar riffs by Jeff Scott that seem to blindside you out of nowhere in most of the tracks, and the percussion skill is evident via the fast and furious drumbeats and bass pedal speed, but much of this is unfortunately masked via surface “hiss” and recording “noise” — very similar to what was heard during the old cassette tape era. Additionally, although the music has its roots firmly entrenched in power; you really have to crank up this CD to get any volume out of it – further exacerbating the already stressed production anomalies. The low production quality also makes deciphering Jason Lenhard’s bass work difficult.

JCM Record’s production shortcomings are indeed a shame, because Enraged engages in some fairly intricate and interesting musical passages, which are enjoyable, but less enjoyable than they probably could be. Each song is interestingly written and has potential, although few totally make the grade. The last 2 tracks, “Dead Friend” and “Worth”, in my opinion, are the best, however, each song on the album contains interludes that excite you into thinking something really good is going to develop. Funny, but the band tends to shift gears in each of these songs away from those “good” developments, reverting back into their unstructured anarchy comfort zone. Nonetheless, this is a band that should be watched (at a minimum) in the future, because Enraged could plausibly become a future influential player in the Heavy Metal field. Add a bit more structure and some enhanced production attention next time around, and you’ll have a true winner across all grading scales. For now…well, you have a band trying like hell to make a statement whose energy and conviction probably makes them an absolute gas to see live!


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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