[29 April 2007]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
The collective members of Temple of Brutality give the band a very impressive pedigree, as it features former members of Megadeth, W.A.S.P., and Belladonna, but experience don’t mean a lick if the songs don’t deliver, and Lethal Agenda falls flat, sounding as forgettable as the band’s name. The album is furious and energetic enough; every song was recorded live in one take, and it is refreshing to hear something that hasn’t been processed through Pro Tools. However, the actual music lazily follows the lead of Pantera and Black Label Society, dominated by the bland riffs of guitarist Peter Scheithauer, which struggle to remain audible in the mix thanks to the overbearing drumming of Stet Howland. Vocalist Todd Barnes doggedly tries to leave an impression with his burly growl, which resembles a cross between Phil Anselmo and Udo Dirkschneider, on songs like the title track and “Doesn’t Matter”, but the muddy production and the complete lack of dynamic songwriting makes it all an exercise in futility. Why former Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson would lend his name to such a mediocre product is beyond comprehension.