Metal Review – 352 Poserkiller: Gain Control

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Metal Review – 352 Poserkiller: Gain Control
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352 Poserkiller: Gain Control
Doom Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore
Self-release
June 25th, 2014
Release length: 21:42
Facebook
Youtube
352 Poserkiller is a three-piece group that hails from the lovely, exotic, and incredibly scenic LXB, wherever that may be exactly. It’s existence came to be when lead vocalist Bouf was apparently celebrating with guitarist, drummer and vocalist Theinthein’s eleven years of straight edge over a cold beer. Bouf had a realization about the enjoyment levels of The Dead’s Tears sans-synths, further discussing his desire to use auto-tuning to get a vocal mixture of Justin Bieber with the sound of Cunthunt 777. This was where 352 Poserkiller apparently got their start before picking up Cpt. Cool on bass, acquiring Mr. T as their manager, and signing with EMI Records. Of course, all this comes from their official Facebook account, and judging by some of the artwork posted including that of their self-released first EP Gain Control, it’s pretty obvious this is all a joke and, for the serious metalhead, it’s enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. But does this trio leave the silliness at the door with this recording, or is Gain Control literally a joke in itself?

While the band claims no synthesizers involved, 352 Poserkiller does incorporate keyboards in their performances. This does include the haunting instrumental introduction that is “The Dying Headbanger’s Last Mosh.” Despite it’s dark, uneasy atmosphere, it doesn’t quite prepare you for what’s next. “Mike Efron” introduces a raw, incredibly deep and down-tuned performance that seems to echo deep within the cold, dank catacombs of the Metal underworld as the keyboards actually come through eerie when dishing out some hooks, but epic in the main verses, chorus, and certain bridges. This leads to a memorable, moody song that, for the most part, is the polar opposite of their satyrical exterior.

“Oh Pen! R.M.S.” is a faster track overall, which presents more of a visceral side to the band. The main verses are a bit restrained, focusing more on a simple drum beat and distant cymbal being tapped, but the bridges do explode with speed at times that give a nice hint of hostility before heading into slower slam-based sections that have enough meat on their bones to leave a mark when they hit. “Cho” is a mid-paced offering, but also the most varied. The bass guitar really stands out the most here, especially in slower segments like the introduction with lower chords that punch you right in the gut as they plod along. There are some high speed assaults thrown about, as well as some haunting hooks heading towards the breakdown around the three minute mark that ends up one of the more impressive ones the recording has to offer.

While impressive, Gain Control does have its faults. “Kill the Cunt ov Death” is a good offering, but relies more on those keyboards to establish the mournful environment. The guitars are often well paced, though at times hidden by the aforementioned instrument. This isn’t exactly a bad thing though, but the overall song does end up sounding a little less tighter than “Mike Efron” in comparison. There are just times where things seem to be slightly off, usually when the pace shifts such as around two minutes and fifty seconds in. The breakdown three minutes and fifteen seconds in is a bit rough as well, though this is more from the audio quality and tuning causing it to sound weak and the instruments being largely buried. “Oh Pen! R.M.S.” also suffers at the start of the keyboard solo, and even the passage that follows it seems to be off slightly, but the latter could very well be the quality wreaking havoc again.

That’s not all though. “Mike Efron” immediately establishes one of the other bigger gripes: The washout on the cymbals. This ends up a trait felt on the other tracks as well, but thankfully is excusable thanks to how masked they are by the guitars and echoing growls that sound as though they are everywhere by bouncing off the pillars in this expansive crypt you find yourself in, echoing from a distance. There’s also some audio drop out during the start of “Kill the Cunt ov Death,” which leads one to wonder if this was recorded in, or altered to sound like an analog effort and slapped onto a cassette afterwards, or if this was more of a home studio recording done with a tape deck. Whatever the answer, the raw traits of Gain Control end up a double edged sword for 352 Poserkiller that often greatly favor them more than they outweigh the benefits.

But, with all that said, Gain Control is still not an entirely serious effort. Or, at least, it would seem. 352 Poserkiller have made the lyrics for the song “Mike Efron” available on the Youtube upload of the song, as well as on a Facebook post for it. All it seems to talk about is moshing and how this Mike Efron fellow seems to be the god of mosh and orchestrating the people in it. If this is what the band writes about, it’s best to just not know what the impossible to understand vocals are saying. Then again, maybe it would be. When you compare the lyrics to those on the song, they don’t line up or even sound like the words we’re told the band is growling most of the time. The more you listen, the more it doesn’t sound like the sarcasm on the group’s social media outlets is at all shared on this release.

From the start of my journey into the world of Metal to the days involved in local bands, time as Metal Director for WSFX FM, even up to and including the operation of this very website, I rarely ever get a recording from a band that my first reaction to upon hitting play was uttering the words “What the fuck?!” Gain Control simply cannot be the product of a parody band that formed three months ago. Sure, some satirical elements might exist in the lyrics, as even with the supposed lyrics available they’re pretty impossible to decipher. If anything what was posted is derived from that very fact, something Nathan Explosion’s character mentions in Dethklok: Metalocalypse when Pickles asks him to change the lyrics for a show when involved with a manager and her cult.

I’ll admit to it, I got trolled. I bought into it all, but only due to having come across a number of bands that acted that way or had crudely drawn artwork that looked like it took five minutes max to put together on Microsoft Paint. But the more I examine 352 Poserkiller, the more I’m convinced they’re a serious group that decided to present themselves in this manner for some reason, maybe to hide in the shadows or remain “anonymous” or something like that. All shenanigans aside, Gain Control is still glorious, epic, infectious, burdening, cavernous, intimidating, bludgeoning, cvlt, and so many more terms that aptly describe what is captured on this recording. But, for the reasons outlined already, it’s not perfect unless you buy into the hype and that they formed a few months ago. Whether you do or you don’t, Gain Control is an EP that will genuinely surprise you. And since you can stream the whole thing on Youtube, it’s well worth giving a shot if you can look past the gimmick that just needs to be dropped.

01. The Dying Headbanger’s Last Mosh – 1:23
02. Mike Efron – 4:15
03. Kill the Cunt ov Death – 5:15
04. Oh Pen! R.M.S. – 5:37
05. Cho – 5:12
Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by 352 Poserkiller.