GANG, V (2010, Emanes Metal)

The skull:
Well, it’s big, that’s for sure. And the single eye is pretty awesome, despite the absolutely terrible Photoshop paste job. This is an ugly, lazy cover, make no mistake! The candles at least sort of set the scene, but the pentagram logo is a little distracting (it could certainly be better integrated) and the standard-issue brown wash that swamps the entire cover is a drag. Plus, it’s Christmas morning, and the Council gifted me a one-of-a-kind LP pressed in sterling silver of Megadeth’s Killing Is My Business… and I’d much rather be listening to that than critiquing this crappy French skull. Of course, the Council and we friars acknowledge no God but The Skull, but we all enjoy the gift-giving and camaraderie of the holiday season, not to mention the heavily boozed dairy beverages.

The music:
This totally un-Googlable album is a nice slice of melodic trad metal that nevertheless sounds more or less modern and not at all retro. Listening to V, the bands that immediately spring to mind are Artch and Hell (the new lineup, with Andy Sneap), although I offer these only as points of comparison, not to suggest that Gang were influenced by either band. Mercyful Fate are probably the common ancestor, although Gang doesn’t make a great effort to establish any occult vibe. The singer has a nasal delivery and a narrow range, but he puts his voice to good and dramatic use, and the riffing is solid and largely catchy. The drums sound programmed to me, but they’re basically alright sounding, and the rest of the production is perfectly fine. Gang aren’t about to become my new favorite band, but they’re pretty decent, and certainly good enough to get me to check out the rest of their fairly significant discography.
— Friar Johnsen

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