MORDRED "The Dark Parade"

By Dr. Abner Mality

MORDRED, along with perhaps BLIND ILLUSION, was always the odd duck of the legendary Frisco thrash scene and I must confess I never really followed them. "The Dark Parade" marks their first record since 1994 and it comes into a vastly different musical world, where metal and rock have become fringe genres in a world of garbage mumble rap and autotuned pop atrocities. Maybe now is the time for MORDRED?

I tried hard to get into this, but could only do it occasionally. MORDRED of course was known for inserting funk and rap influences into a thrash framework. I loathe rap as much as I like funky music so the results are ambiguous. The press sheet makes the incredible claim that MORDRED is in the same boat as DARK ANGEL and OVERKILL. Other than having guitars and drums, I couldn't find any similarity with a magnifying glass and tweezers. This album is indeed eclectic and I will sure give the band points for making every song different. But at the end of the day, the almost comically serious deep rap vocals sound absurd and the wax scratching is only a novelty for seconds before it begins to become tiresome.

One thing that does stand out is the sizzling lead guitar work throughout. The shredding is excellent and always lifts a song even if the rest of it is awkward.That's the case with "Demonic #7", which starts with swirling guitars and scratching until those almost cartoonish rap vocals come in. "Malignancy" and "I Am Charlie" sail past without much impact, but "Dragging For Bodies" has a very smooth flow to it that's appealing and the guitar leads are the best on the album. I also liked the title track with its Middle Eastern horn sounds that bring the Arabian Nights to mind.

"All Eyes On the Prize" is the one song that causes me actual pain with clumsy lyrics and vocals, but the album recovers with a grooving, metallic "Dented Lives" and the closing tune "Smash Goes The Bottle", which has a cool, gritty classic rock feel that reminded me of THIN LIZZY, believe it or not. LIZZY could be considered a distant cousin of MORDRED's, as that band was also not afraid to mix funk and jazz into their metal and hard rock.

It's certainly a professional sounding effort and the musical chops are undeniable, but my final analysis is that MORDRED is just not really my cup of tea, even though there's certainly some good stuff to be found here.