Sledgehammer Chiropractic [Demo]

Silencer - Sledgehammer Chiropractic Demo ©1998 Mourning Star Music
1. Mad Max (V8 Interceptor)
2. Fatal Sands
3. Tankbuster
4. Silencer

A possible Silencer list of things to do today:
1. Play uptempo power metal reminiscient of various European stalwarts and even those nutty guys in Manowar.
2. Hire a vocalist who has just a bit more grit in his voice and a little less thin high wailing.
3. Occasionally break into wanking sections that are just too much soloing for the sake of soloing.

In a nutshell this four song demo tape from this Denver, Colorado, band is actually not too bad at all. (Is that really a compliment?) Aside from the vocal inadequecies (think a lower octave Midnight from Crimson Glory--"Fatal Sands" is the best example of that) and my annoyance with those fretboard wandering solo breaks, Silencer has some of the elements necessary to, uh, make some noise. Rather than lock together, the guitars often are doing two different things while the bassist actually does more than act as another kick drum. I've been assured the band is looking for a fulltime vocalist to take the reins in that department, so I look forward to hearing where they head next.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/1999

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Kozmos EP

Silencer - Kozmos EP ©2000 Self-Released
1. Mourning Star
2. Kozmos
3. Easter Island
4. Missing Hope
5. Industrial Command

Having performed a major overhaul since the band's original Sledgehammer Chiropractic demo tape from 1999, Silencer has reemerged to become quite easily the most potent and promising metal act from Denver, Colorado, if not the entire western United States. Bandleader/vocalist/guitarist Keith Spargo was forced to rebuild the lineup from scratch following the band's initial demo tape and has come up with a considerably more impressive unit to back his musical vision. Since Kozmos' release in 2000, the band has received favorable press from the likes of Metal Maniacs and were one of the more talked about live acts at Milwaukee's famed Metalfest. And as with any small band peddling a self released CD, there is ample reason for the attention.

Unlike the original lineup's demo tape, which was recorded a mere few weeks after the inception of the outfit, Kozmos is a much better thought out and executed release. Spargo's singing has improved immensely, especially since he's not trying to be Michael Kiske or Bruce Dickinson and going for high notes that didn't suit his throat. Rather, his vocals are a bit lower and mixed a bit behind the music to actually add impact. The music, meanwhile, has improved dramatically with this new lineup. Kozmos has the feel of a late 80s thrash metal or speed metal album without falling victim to nostalgia imitation. With the production being top notch, these five songs have plenty of kick to satisfy customers of the new century of music. The songs show a reasonable amount of sublime progression, particularly in the short instrumental "Easter Island". The arrangements of the songs also allow for them to breathe and show dynamic progressions.

Considering the vast amount of lousy material released on labels that comes through my mailbox, it's a breath of fresh air to have a highly promising act show one can retain metal roots and still sound vibrant and alive. Labels everywhere should be slapping themselves on the forehead for not signing Silencer yet. Meanwhile, fans of timeless thrashy metal should be getting ahold of Silencer immediately.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/2001

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Structures EP

Silencer - Structures EP ©2002 Self-Released
1. Black Hole Engine (Markarian 573)
2. The Bruising Feast
3. Structures
4. This Mythic Image
5. Megalith

Silencer has been bopping around Denver's little music scene for quite some time and at least in my eyes, they're earning the status of Hard Luck Case. Band leader/singer/guitarist Keith Spargo has never quite been able to nail down a solid lineup (although the core of Silencer seems pretty intact) and many lesser bands around the world seem to get the lucrative record contract while Silencer keeps self-releasing EPs. Despite favorable reviews at the Milwaukee Metalfest, Silencer seems as though they're being ignored by a larget audience.

Structures is the band's second EP and fourth overall recording (they've done a demo and a split EP with Serberus) and a fairly positive experience all around. Silencer's sound has been honed to a strong force, one very steeped in traditional metal and thrash influence. To a degree, this EP reminds me as though the band recorded it with Overkill's Horrorscope in their breakfast cereal. The EP has a thump and stomp that is reminscient of the glory days of thrash without sounding like group of modern rejects trying to imitate what they grew up listening to. Silencer specializes in a double bass drum, thick riff attack, which will appeal to those who want aggressive and somewhat melodic music. Spargo's singing is pushed back a bit in the mix and isn't a major focal point in their work. Compared to where he was when Silencer first started several years ago, he's a much improved vocalist who is an asset for the band.

On the flipside, I keep getting the nagging feeling Silencer is holding out on us. This is a band who should simply say, "Screw it", discard the distractions and record the absolute best full length album they possibly can. These EPs are teasers, as far as I'm concerned. Silencer has the potential to appeal to all fans of metal throughout the ages as they have the classic elements mixed with a modern sensibility. Their best work is definitely ahead of them and hopefully soon they'll unleash it on us.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2003

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