Metal as a genre has always had a macho image attached to it. Though it may not be true with every sub genre out there, when metal as a whole is viewed from a common man’s perspective, there is certainly a certain degree of machismo attached to it. And then there are bands that go ahead and embrace this tough guy image. This trend saw a rise with the explosion of Pantera and the 90’s groove / thrash metal movement. And at that point in time, I did enjoy the occasional groove band, with its ‘mightier than thou’ attitude. Then as I grew up, my tastes expanded and groove / thrash metal bands have been pushed way back in my choice of music. So it is kinda nice to revisit the genre with Stab.Twist.Pull’s latest full length, ‘Lifeline’. Listening to this record reminds me of all the reasons I liked this sub genre of metal, while also bringing to mind why I moved on.
Stab.Twist.Pull have this strong NWOAHM metal vibe going on, that when I first heard the music, I could’ve sworn these guys were from the USA. In reality, my guess would have not been that far off since this band is from Calgary, Canada. This is one of those bands that carry this gung-ho attitude and one can tell this by just looking at the track titles. I mean, songs like ‘Action Jackson Tallahassee’, ‘Shake the Whole World’ and ‘Danger Danger’ don’t necessarily scream out deep philosophical meaning behind the songs.
Listening to this album is like watching an action movie from the 90’s. The plot is nonsensical and the movie doesn’t seem to carry a real purpose. But when you get past those things and try to watch it with your brain shut off, it actually turns out to be quite entertaining and fun. Similarly, this record prefers groove over riffs and the only true purpose of the music seems to be to sound as heavy and manly as possible. Though I don’t agree with this approach to metal or hardcore, I gotta be honest and admit that Stab.Twist.Pull know how to write a fun a record.
The reason that this record is as enjoyable as it is, is due to the fact that Stab.Twist.Pull keep it short and neat. The groove centric tracks can entertain only for so long and the band keeps it crisp. With almost all the tracks falling under the 3 minute mark, there is no instance where the song lingers longer than it needs to. Another aspect that makes ‘Lifeline’ enjoyable are the little touches of technicality that are added into the mix. The music is not complicated in any way, but now and then the band adds these small touches, be it in the guitar riffs, the bass lines or the drum fills, that makes the track a little more interesting.
I know for a fact that if I start thinking about the album, I might probably lose the ability to enjoy it. And hence, I shall refrain from doing that. ‘Lifeline’ serves as a reminder that groove centric tough guy metal – hardcore mix is still prevalent today and that it can sometimes be fun. I might not completely agree with Stab.Twist.Pull’s approach to music, but I can definitely understand where they’re coming from.