Junior's sophomore effort isn't going to reshape metal
Phoenix Arizona (U.S.A.) act F5 were marketed as bassist David Ellefson's post-Megadeth project initially on the back of their debut effort, A Drug For All Seasons. And just like Jason Newsted's name being attached to Echobrain ('Who?' I hear you ask) post-Metallica, in the end it is nothing but marketing. F5 also features former Megadeth drummer Jimmy DeGrasso along side vocalist Dale Steele, and guitarists Steve Conley and John Davis, but I'm sure those names aren't listed in the hype. Sure a couple of those names will get people's attention, but ultimately, like any band, if the product isn't up to scratch, they will soon be forgotten. That aside, F5 have returned with their sophomore effort titled The Reckoning.
No Excuse launches out of the gate without hesitation driven by a solid groove that flows effortlessly. As simple as it is, it's certainly as catchy as all hell and a solid track for F5. Steele's vocals are perfectly suited with their slightly unpolished edge, which at times sees Steele sounding like Sevendust Lajon Witherspoon during the dynamic I Am The Taker. The title track, The Reckoning, is generally quicker and just oozes cool throughout thanks to some tidy change ups between the verses and the chorus. Rank And File offers little until the chorus lifts it up and out of mediocrity, but only barely, whilst the slower swing of Love Is Dead is if nothing else something a little different at this point in the album.
By this point though, the band's M.O. is pretty damned obvious - verse, chorus, verse, chorus, guitar lead, and finish kinda deal. Whilst the quicker Through Hell and the outstanding Wake Up are the best of the rest, there's plenty of dead weight in the Disturbed sounding duo Cause For Concern and Control, whilst My End and the finale, Final Hour, really fail to being anything that allows them to stand out. They aren't filler as such, but they do lack that spark that gives them an edge.
It has to be asked if anyone would know of F5 if it wasn't for Ellefson and DeGrasso? I think it's a case of probably not. Then again, I don't think those names would make a difference one way of the other. The Reckoning is nice enough, but it's not exactly going to set the world on fire, and that's regardless of the names in the band.