• 6.5/10
    POINT BLANK - By A Thread - 6.5/10


Release date: June 20, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

If a band comes from New York, what is the first thought? Right – Hardcore. And, as if Point Blank wanted to fulfill expectations, that is what the first tracks of the album sounds like: Hardcore with a heavy Thrash influence. No wonder, since they have an impressive list of bands they have played with, and that reads like a who-is-who of Thrash and Hardcore. Along with that goes the statement that they appear to be mainly a live band, and having toured a lot, have also gained some success in the form of media attention and good album sales of their first CD, Cast The First Stone.

So far, nothing that new: one sits back and listens to this not so original mixture for two songs, where the acoustic guitar intro of the opening track “Next Best Thing” is the most unusual part in the Metal niché Point Blank occupies, and has to admit that the songs seem quite okay. The Hardcore edge of Biohazard-style mid-tempo parts meeting with fast Thrash attacks goes down rather well, but fails to impress, which is also true for the second song “Ill At Ease.” One can see, though, why these would probably cause a completely different reaction in a club in the Bronx.

But then, a sudden change happens, and makes brows rise! “Savior Self” is of a different caliber, displaying heavy Melodic Death influences and a great bridge with undistorted guitar leading into a clear, melodic part that empties out into a Thrashy chorus. Next up is a heavy Alternative song just disguised behind a Thrash veil! Those two songs show a completely different side of By A Thread, the side where the band displays a hand for melodies, and Alan Koeppel on vocals makes it clear that he is a very versatile singer who can do anything from clean, almost sweet melodies, to Death grunts and Hardcore shouting. What an unexpected and pleasant surprise!

The other five songs display the same ambiguity of this release: A Death track with Thrash leads, then a driving, but quite ordinary, Thrash Core song before the most unexpected thing happens. “Truth Hurts” even adds keyboards to a slow, almost laid back composition with strong Doom influences and another Alternative Rock melody. They even do not shy away from using acoustic guitars and having Bill Kelly crank out a brilliant solo. This is really strong stuff, even if some of the parts don’t seem to completely fit together. After this, another old school mid-tempo Thrash song and a fast, Kreator, Exodus, or Demolition Hammer-reminding track end the album.

Remember, this is an independent release! It would probably be a good album if signed, but one has to tip his hat to By A Thread and the four guys that made it happen all by themselves. Of course, it lacks a bit in the sound department, especially the drum sound is a drawback as the bass drums sound like snappers, and the snare reminds one of the most famous book by German Literature Nobel Price winner Guenther Grass. But, this is real underground, and it was hardly ever better than this with four songs that bigger bands would love to write once in their carreer (tracks 3, 4, 7, and 9). If released 15 years ago, this would be a milestone in Metal, and since nobody is getting any younger, why not just sit back and enjoy this Metalfest?


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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