Rebel Yell - Bound to the Night
Self released
Death Thrash Metal
13 songs (50'07")
Release year: 2003
Reviewed by Alex

Another week brings us another band from Maryland that plays a rather intense brand of metal. There must be something in that Chesapeake water that makes young men angry.

In the case of Rebel Yell the chosen method of mayhem is old school death/thrash metal. If you were looking for something innovative and out of the ordinary you must look the other way. If you are in a need of a serious headbanging fix then Rebel Yell delivers.

I will start with the “positives”. This is what impressed me about the band’s second full-length Bound to the Night. It is honest, brutal and from the heart. These guys obviously play because there is something pent up inside, not because they want to impress anybody or make a million bucks. The recipe is pretty simple, really. Every song revolves around a couple of riffs that can break you neck. The whole album, thus, is quite straightforward and has a fair amount of grooviness as drums supply a powerful backbone. The best riffs generally appear at the beginning of the songs From Above, I Just Called to Say I Loathe You (what a title) and Slave Song. Militaristic march which opens S.O.S. after the “cemetery bells” instrumental break Let Us Prey is also worth mentioning.

The next few paragraphs are not meant to be “negatives”, but rather a food for thought and what, in my modest opinion, would constitute a future improvement. Being not very original is quite OK with me. I enjoy the material similar to some forefathers of the genre when it is well done. Rebel Yell’s nods to Pantera, Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel are subtle, but their Slayer worship is pervasive. Such material is supposed to be quick hitting and to the point. So, one of my key questions would be – was it a good strategy to put out a 13-track album that feels too long? On Demons’ Wings is a good enough instrumental that shows the band’s ability to deliver slow moving heavy material. The same efforts in Defaced, Dying Ember and Nine One One turn into a dragfest (the hidden portion of Nine One One is not bad though). Would the album really suffer if those tracks were left out? Reign in Blood is under 40 min, however, it is a classic. Besides, Rebel Yell can’t maintain the speed and tightness throughout. Wouldn’t it better then to concentrate more on variation in songwriting and perfecting your best riffs?

Musicianship needs to improve as well. Just when the coolest riffs of the verse in Slave Song call for a fast and brutal chorus, the song slows down so the drummer can keep up. The vocals smell of the old era Hetfield too much (when he still could deliver, anything is better than the new era Hetfield though). There is not enough brutality in the voice for songs like S.O.S. I just imagine how it would sound if Tom Araya, Glen Benson, Chris Barnes or Maurizio Iacono growled their way through it. Rebel Yell’s idea of solos is also reduced to three quick chaotic buzzsaw breaks on Set in Stone, I Just Called … and Dying Ember.

The guys say that they record on minimal budget. While the album is not going to win any awards for production I loved the thick guitar sound. Even though the band does not list a bass player and both guitarists handled bass in the studio it is audible and booming. The whole album is raw, but powerful and energetic. Big kudos to that!

I would love to come to a small bar and listen to Rebel Yell for 4 or 5 of their best tracks as a warm-up to a brutal established death metal act. The guys got what it takes to make the crowd going. They understand headbanging. However, if their act would last for 10 songs, and cut into the main attraction, I would start to lose interest. That is exactly how I feel about Bound to the Night. I don’t see this band signing up a multialbum deal with a big label, they simply would not have enough material for that, but I see them as huge local crowd favorites who hit some heartstrings.

Killing Songs :
From Above, S.O.S., On Demons' Wings, hidden part of Nine One One
Alex quoted 59 / 100
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