Reviews for October 10th, 2012

Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence

For years I have been mostly ignoring Between the Buried and Me because I thought they were some crappy, cookie-cutter metalcore band. I must have been confusing them with some other band that has too many words in their band’s name. Then, sometime in the last year, I heard Buke talking about how much he was digging these guys. I probably scoffed at the comment at the time, but it made me curious. So I fired up Rhapsody or Spotify or whatever I was using at that time, and played 2009’s “The Great Misdirect” and last year’s “The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues.” Whoopsy.

While there is certainly a metalcore element to Between the Buried and Me, it is not the metal-meets-pop-punk element that makes me hate the style so much. No, they take the only good thing from metalcore (a quality harsh vocal) and leave the rest behind. They go in a much more progressive direction, crafting intricate and interesting songs that deftly mix clean, beautiful passages with heavy and rifftastic metal. These guys are like the metal Pink Floyd. Wait, you ask, isn’t that Opeth? Perhaps so, but these guys are currently much heavier than Opeth.

I have not read the lyric sheet to get a grasp on what the songs are about (this is a concept album which continues the story started on last year’s EP), but the title and artwork makes me feel like it might be some sort of Voivodian sci-fi story. They could be singing about turning into a banana tree for all I care, these songs are pretty fantastic.

Do not make the mistake I did in overlooking Between the Buried and Me. “The Parallax II: Future Sequence” is definitely worth the listen. Check out the track “Telos.”

Deceit – Nine

It can be pretty annoying when labels send you music to review but do not bother to provide a bio sheet. I received “Nine”, an album by Deceit, from Scarlet Records and it did not include a bio sheet. There was a little blurb about how the band is influenced by artists such as Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age and Alice in Chains…but nothing as basic as where the band is from. Based on the fact that they are signed to Scarlet Records I will make the leap of faith to guess Deceit is Italian. The one other bit of information I was able to glean is that this is their debut album.

Now, I am a fan of both Foo Fighters and Alice in Chains (the Staley years anyway,) but neither of those bands is particularly metal. Deceit kind of straddles the line; they are perhaps a little more commercial sounding than what I would generally qualify as metal, but at the same time they are pretty heavy and catchy. So what the hell, I will give them a listen.

The songs on “Nine” are more…accessible…than I tend to listen to on my own, but once in awhile I can get into music with overt hooks and catchy choruses. This happens to be one of those moments where I am feeling open minded. It is not catchy songs themselves that I am against, it is the people who make formulaic songs whose only purpose is to be catchy and make money for personal gain, without any thought for injecting soul or personality into the mix, and these are the people I am against. And it just so happens that right now, in America at least, catchy songs almost exclusively equates to corporate rock bullshit. Deceit and some other bands I have heard from outside the U.S. seem to as yet be unaffected by this disease, and so are able to create catchy music that still feels genuine. And so I applaud them.

Deceit may not be metal, but they are still a pretty good hard rocking listen. Check out the video for “First Father.”

Terrifier – Destroyers of the Faith

Will you look at that? What are young bands doing these days? All these years, Judas Priest has been defending the faith and now Terrifier comes along and destroys it. No respect. That was a lot funnier in my head before I typed it out. Moving on.

Terrifier is a thrash metal band from Vancouver and “Destroyers of the Faith” is their first album. Formerly known as Skull Hammer, the band changed their name back in June of this year. That would explain why the song on YouTube comes up as Skull Hammer.

The songs on “Destroyers of the Faith” are fairly typical thrash metal songs. They are neither superb nor terrible; they are, however, good and acceptable. There is nothing wrong here other than a lack of anything remarkable. The songs are fun and recorded pretty well (though they might benefit from some mastering to make the whole mix louder. I had to crank the volume to hear it.) But there are a thousand other thrash bands out there doing pretty much the same thing and to make a mark these guys will need to step things up a bit somehow. I like what they are doing, but something needs to set them apart.

Check out the track, “Hammer Fist.”

Lima – Open the Floodgates

And now, from the “This Should Have Been Reviewed Three Months Ago” file, I give you “Open the Floodgates” from Lima. I play pretty fast and loose with the schedule; things get moved around all the time based on my availability and the constant flow of new submissions. Unsigned artists have the misfortune of getting kicked around the schedule the most in order for me to make concessions to record label schedules. The worst part is this is the second time this year I have done this to Andrew Lima. Back in the spring Lima’s “Rediscoveries” got kicked around the schedule for about a month before I got around to it. Not to be outdone, this time he has been rattling around the schedule for three months. Sorry man, it wasn’t you, it was me.

“Rediscoveries” was an album of cool cover songs while “Open the Floodgates” is an album of original material. The cover album, because it was made up of songs from different artists of varying degrees of heaviness, while excellent, did not have a consistent sound. This is to be expected when jumping around between Nine Inch Nails, Megadeth and Rush. “Open the Floodgates”, being original songs by the same artist, sounds like a more cohesive collection of songs. There are some stylistic changes as the album progresses, but it still sounds like the same guy throughout.

The album starts off with some uber-heavy tunes with harsh vocals, but before too long we move into more contemplative music with clean and ethereal vocals. And then back to harsh vocals. Andrew seems to think this is a pretty twisted diversity, but I think it made for a dynamic listen that kept me from getting bored.

I went online looking for a tune to include here, and while I did not find a song to use, I did come across a short documentary Andrew filmed called “Perchance to Dream” which documents the making of “Open the Floodgates.” It looks like he made the video for a school project, but I have to say watching this was just as interesting as listening to the album. Once I finished watching it I wanted to hear the album all over again. The film was very inspirational and reminded me of when I was younger and recording my songs by myself. The difference being that his songs are actually good lol.

Bravo sir, on both the album and the short film. I do not know whether you are pursuing a career in music, film-making or something completely different, but I have little doubt you will succeed in whatever it is you do. I will certainly be always ready to hear more of your music, because I think it is great. And I will make a conscious effort to not take so long getting around to it.