We’ll tell you one thing about Bound by Fate; this all-American five-piece certainly know how to kick an album off the right way! Hell yes, “Save Or Betray” gets right down to business with a staccato guitar riff a la Prong over thundering bass and a seething, ranting vocalist who connects straight away and these dudes are blatantly pissed off and capable of delivering straight-forward, groove-orientated Metal on their 7-tracker, Steadfast.
True to their calling card, Bound By Fate hit hard, clean and straight. Their influences – Pantera, Poison Idea and a little bit of Lamb Of God when frontman Dan Cameron floors it – are worn on their sleeve and rightly so. If you’re going to borrow from someone, borrow from the best. Regrettably though, the musical content on Steadfast lies some distance behind the example set by their influences and beneath the technical grade-curve set by today’s prime contenders. Bound By Fate know how to write a catchy riff and pen a memorable lyric, the problem here is the marked absence of variety and adventurousness throughout the vanilla verse-chorus-repeat song structures. Of course, some tracks are stronger than others and when they lock into a groove, Bound By Fate are capable of impressing. “Strung Out – Strung Up” comes over well with its gang-vocals as does obligatory relationship song, “The Cleansing” while “Crooked Blue” may either be the best or the worst song on here – we haven’t quite decided yet – being in possession of a quite a freakishly catchy chorus; unfortunately the ultra-sincere anti-establishment lyrics come over as pretty mawkish.
There is an organic quality to Steadfast and when the bass is thumping this band do deliver what is expected of them. We have no doubt they would come over brilliantly live. However, in these modern times when pro-grade recording equipment is available to almost anyone, often quality control is the first casualty on self-financed albums. That’s what appears to be happening here. Sure that’s a great riff, but how could we build it up then break it down to maximise its impact? Where could it go next? How do we distil a good idea into a great song?
To that end, while Bound by Fate have some solid foundations, the overall feeling when listening to Steadfast is that they could benefit from the input of a guitar player able to broaden their palette or maybe just a producer who understood what they were trying to accomplish and could help them squeeze the very best from their songs. 4/10