Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Published 18 May, 2016
Link: Label Website

Well, it goes without saying that Divebomb would complete the mission with respect to Apocalypse reissues and they did just that. The Swiss group’s 1993 sophomore and final album, Faithless, has also been given the limited edition and semi-deluxe treatment as well. No doubt this will be welcomed news to thrash fans and those trying to hunt down illusive and overpriced copies (original or bootleg) on eBay.

Album number two for these Swiss thrashers was suitably more mature sounding in the structure of the songs. But in saying that, it’s hard to imagine where they would have fit in the musical landscape of 1993. By the time this album originally saw the light of day, the metal landscape had massively changed thanks to Metallica’s self titled (aka Black album) and the exploding popularity of grunge. Couple that with the five year gap between releases and the fact that the band were introducing new vocalist Nic Maeder (who now fronts Gotthard) with this release, and it’s clear that this was always going to be an upward battle as far as winning over fans go.

Even with the band recruiting renowned producer Harris Johns (Helloween, Kreator, Sodom, Tankard), by this point in time it was always going to be difficult for Apocalypse to make an impact. Death metal, grunge, a “metal” album that would be two years into an album that would eventually sell millions of copies worldwide; all of these factors along with the delay and new vocalist would affect the band at this point, unbeknownst to them.

Whilst the overall sound of Faithless is consistent with Apocalypse’s debut effort, the vocals are noticeably different. Maeder’s pipes sound nothing like his work fronting power rockers Gotthard, but by the same token, they lacked the raspier edge of the vocals on the band’s previous release. They sound a little less edgy than the vocals of Carlos Sprenger. They aren’t out of place but they aren’t quite right, to be honest. Of course, some 23 years on, and these kinds of comments don’t mean shit. It is what it is, and nothing I say at this point will change anything. The remaster by Jamie King (who did the band’s other Divebomb reissue) is solid and should not alarm or surprise anyone at this juncture. The reissue comes with a 16 page booklet packed with pictures and an interview but only a single bonus track in “Wall” which is clearly not as polished as the nine tracks that precede it.  

The one thing that’s clear with Faithless now as it was over two decades ago is that the songs themselves just do not cut it. Whilst they might show an increased level of maturity over the band’s debut, by the time it was finally released in 1993 it was too little too late. The thrash metal ship has clearly sailed a voyage of Titanic proportions by this stage and these guys were completely left standing at the dock. Sure, they may have survived the downfall of thrash but they, along with other bands that also lasted this long, were left stranded and without a leg to stand on. Sadly, Faithless would have the same impact on the thrash/metal world as other releases from thrash acts around that time. Bottom line is that this album fell by the wayside. It might have a new lease on life that might prove more beneficial than the album’s first run, but suffice to say, the album doesn’t hold a candle to the band’s debut.

It’s a nice enough reissue from Divebomb but the album lacks the strength of its predecessor and this one really will only appeal to true, diehard “collect ‘em all” type fans.

Divebomb Records

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