First impression: This band sounds like a gang of Metallica fans that wasn’t disappointed by Load and Reload.

The first impression isn’t the whole picture, but boy does it linger. Press materials are quick to lunge for the “thrash-revival” angle, like Blatant Disarray’s widescreen bluster was anything at all close to Municipal Waste’s basement-party whirlwinds or Warbringer’s runaway momentum.

No, this is the thrash of Headbangers Ball, stadium tours and platinum records, or the thrash after Metallica became Metallica. And, to be fair, Blatant Disarray’s sound needn’t be reduced wholly to its most obvious point of reference. The Raleigh four-piece probably digs some European, Nuclear Blast-type jams, too. You hear it in melodic solos that try to reach the skieslike the ringing harmonies that usher in the conclusion of “Faithless”and in acoustic folk-metal interludes that try to open the heart.

Everyone Dies Alone‘s thick, clean production doesn’t offer the band the bone-dry tension favored by more aggressive acts like Slayer, but unleashing aggression isn’t the point of this recordeven if there (thankfully) aren’t any power ballads to be found. Lead singer Mike Schaefer eschews the raw hollering of many of his genre’s peers, looking instead to emulate James Hetfield’s semi-melodic groaning. He ends up somewhere between Mastodon’s Troy Sanders and Godsmack’s Sully Erna. In the school of throaty, grumbling vocals, it’s not such a bad place to be.

Rather, the point of this album seems to be to demonstrate proficiency, and Blatant Disarray has surely succeeded. The band’s polish and poise show them mining the broad appeal of thrash’s latter days. In their focus on doing it right, though, Blatant Disarray hasn’t left room for doing it differently. The influences are worn as masks as much as on sleeves. That first impression lingers, indeed.