HGR CD Review: 44Mag

44MAG – OUTLAW PSYCHOSIS (no label) Defending the faith of traditional classic and thrash metal, Williamsport’s 44Mag hones their hard-hitting attack on their second full length CD, Outlaw Psychosis. Through the disc’s 10 tracks, 44Mag carries the torch of forefathers like classic Pantera, Slayer and Metallica with no-nonsense power metal; featuring scorching guitars, battering ram rhythms and caustic vocals. The dual-guitar tandem of Josh Welteroth and Pat Cioffi lights things up on the frets with searing leads and attacking chords, driven by the aggressive beats of drummer Jesse Roedts and Jason Miller’s taut bass lines. This sonic aggression sets the backdrop for frontman Jared Mondell, who blends rage, acidity, sarcasm and a touch of humor into his feral howl. On the sarcastic side, Mondell ponders the misadventures of today’s youth on the boisterous disc opener “Brain Douche,” taunts society and law enforcement on “D.U.I.” with its gang shout choruses, and vents against a drugged-out society on the disc closer “Rock Smoker.” Mondell explores the self-destructive mind on “Die Tonight,” stands tall after life’s hard journey on the Sabbathy “50 Miles,” and dresses down manufactured rock stars on the high-octane assault “Mr. Rock’N’Roll.” 44Mag yields a metal epic with the multi-tiered “Heroes of the New Aeon,” and offers socio-political commentary on the Slayer-ish speed burner “Hands of Misery.” The songs are stronger and more concise than on the group’s 2007 Past Sins debut, and their instrumental intensity plus Mondell’s authority and presence makes this a more cohesive set. The production and mix by the band and Ben Rosato enables 44Mag to bare their teeth here, letting their metal do the talking with minimal studio bells and whistles. Outlaw Psychosis is a clear step forward for 44Mag, showing a band that has achieved a focused attack, sound and insanity. Fans of old-school heavy metal aggression will find this disc well worth cranking on the stereo. (The CD can be obtained through the group’s website, www.44magmetalband.com.)