Freedom to the Slave Makers

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Israeli groove metal merchants Betzefer shook off the dust of a six-year hiatus with the 2011 release of their sophomore album, Freedom to the Slave Makers, which not surprisingly, sounds as though it popped out of a time capsule, sent from the period immediately following the early-2000s nu-metal decline. Fear not, though: while there are unmistakable ingredients of latter day Slipknot and Soulfly numbing chugga-chugga vehicles such as "Bestseller," "Diamond Director," and "Song for the Alcoholic" (and yes, in case you're wondering, the band was in fact signed to the nu-metal-crazed Roadrunner Records for a short spell), Betzefer quickly show themselves more than capable of breaking the mold in intriguing ways. "Backstage Blues," for example, bucks all expectations with its plaintive textured coda, virtually bordering on post-metal; "Feels so Right" has a pure rock & roll feel reminiscent of 311; the bulldog vocal performance of "Perfect Lie" oddly calls Biohazard to mind; the speedy thump-thump of "Heaven Sent" is good, old-school Pantera fun; but "Doomsday" does get a little silly, with its massed choruses shouting nothing but the chorus (and saying nothing in the process). All in all, it's just enough to steer the group away from out-and-out predictability, and may help them attract some new followers to boot, but whether Freedom to the Slave Makers will get Betzefer's long-stagnated career fully back on track remains to be seen.

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