Verdict Denied, or just Verdict, as their old fans remember them, were formed back in 1995. Their first attempt, a demo tape (yes at that time there were very few cd-demos), by the title "3rd Alternative The Name" back in 1997 and especially two songs (Night Hunting and Sentinels Of Zed) gained the attention of the public and mine, by its first spin.Since then, there have been many line up changes, but their love for metal and especially their main man's (call me Billy) devotion, have kept them alive. Despite the fact that they are counting 14 years of existence and live experience, supporting acts like, Paul Di'Anno, MEKONG DELTA, ANVIL and TANK,2009 seemed that was meant to be the year, to release their first album ever. "Condamned" has its roots to bay area and bands like (early) Metallica,(early) Megadeth, Testament, Coroner, Mekong Delta with some Iced Earth and some pro(a)gressive elements!?!?! Well played and arranged compositions, full of passion and "guts", will make you wonder how Metallica or iced Earth would sound if they were still inspired, as these guys do. At this point I would like to mention Jeff Waters' offer, to handle both mixing and mastering, of this album and even if the sound isn't the best possible, the fact that the band gained his attention, comes to prove my saying.

Highlights (among almost equal songs) of this release, would be "Dark Twisted Laughter" starting with a furious riff and continuing with many pattern and rhythm changes, "94 x 1 Vain (They Return)", which is my personal favourite, with its great guitar riffs, the even greater vocal (including female ones) lines and its superb ending! A masterpiece indeed!! Next I would place "Black Tango" starting in a dark mood, continuing with a lunatic riff and passing through some staccato and unexpected guitar themes, leads to a fine chorus.

Passing among some other great tunes like, the Iced Earth meet Testament, "Twisted and Menacing My Stare" or the galloping "Battle Within" and reaching the end, you can sure about one thing:"This band doesn't lack of good riffs". So if you like old fashioned, yet fresh-played-with-passion HEAVY METAL with a Thrash and Progressive touch, you should invest on these guys without any second thought!!

John L.O.V.E.Machine Littinakis