BY Keith CarmanPublished Apr 19, 2011

Ever have one of those encounters where you really want to like the person you've just met, but for some reason, you either can't find common ground or something about them rubs you the wrong way? Swiss metallers Taletellers embody that on sophomore full-length Radicalizer. Maybe it's that they come across like really tough dudes ready to dole out more chug riffs than Reign In Blood, but after hearing these songs, they're just another collection of typical European metallers blending true metal's overtly barbaric attitude with limp aspects of Helloween, soaked in '80s hair metal. The end result is something not too distant from what Dokken might have issued some two decades ago: a half-hearted attempt to sound rugged despite doling out decidedly pop-influenced hard rock. Radicalizer is a haven for mid-tempo, full-chord tunes meandering away under a whispery-voiced crooner occasionally toying with falsetto highs. While every band member is great at what they do, there's nothing inspiring, invigorating or even unique. Stuck in a limbo of mediocrity, it's like a can of generic beer: it fills a gap, but nobody's going to choose it over the real stuff.

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