|Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Diminished Fifth Records
July 12th, 2011
Release length: 56:00
Much of the album’s music is a cross between some slower paced heavy Death Metal music with some Thrash moments thrown in. Many of the songs here last really long, with “Solitary Confinement” clocking in just shy of eleven minutes and only three songs under or around the five minute mark. This isn’t bad if the band can pull off some solid music to go along with it, and work within the realm of a good production quality. The audio to the recording is pretty good, though it does have it’s rougher raw traits. The vocals are pretty clear, the guitars have a nice distortion with a decent level on the bass to make that guitar heard in the mix. The bass kicks sound pretty strong without having much of a click, the kit if leveled well so it doesn’t drown anything out, and the vocals are a typical guttural approach that is pretty crisp, though there are times where you can’t quite make the lyrics out. There’s nothing that special about them, but they work, as do the random spoken word moments on songs like “Spiritual Suicide”. You also get some background higher pitched shrieks and rhaspy screams, which sound good, but sometimes can just really be overkill. “Casualties of War” also features a heavy Thrash moment with the vocals just being shouted towards the end in a manner to try to incite a riot or start a war as the lyrics suggest, and they do sound pretty good and energetic, but one can’t help sitting back and feeling a slight Rap element similar to something Ice-T may perform on an album.
But while the audio quality is pretty good, the problem comes from the music. Not all tracks here are all that great. “Casualties of War” has a pretty strong groove to it’s Death Metal performance that would give listeners more of a Morbid Angel vibe to it, which really helps to the track to become very catchy despite the high pitched nasal shouting in the background that sounds amateurish and even a bit silly compared to the more professional gutturals that adorn the rest of the album, clashing horribly between each other. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album. The music varies between slower and mid-tempo material, the gutturals are pretty good though sometimes can feel a little less energetic, and the higher pitched background screaming gets really annoying really fast due to the constant clashing and how often it’s overused. There’s also this echo effect on it or bad layering job, which really doesn’t them out either considering they are done the exact same way each time in each song to amp up a large amount of repetition on the release.
As you go through the release, you will find many songs that are not that bad, but have some small faults to them that will irritate you, like the repetitive sounding background vocals. “Spiritual Suicide” makes for another strong track and has a good focus on the more serious guttural vocals, though the music itself is not the most spectacular track. The atmosphere the music does kick up though does match the vocal approach, despite the gutturals feeling a little lackluster to other songs. “RCMP (Royal Corrupted Motherfuckin’ Pig)” is the best track to compare them to. The gutturals are fantastic on this, and even the screams work out well. There’s more to the background screams then one or two words being screamed at certain moments in the exact same manner, an energetic opening scream on each word then the last word having that scream held onto and doing a more human fade that ultimtely just gets cut off. However on this song there’s more words, and not every last word is held in that manner, being behind the gutturals and not just being their own set of vocals that don’t support the lead growls, really making those moments of the song sound rich and intimidating like nothing else this recording offers.
But of all the songs on the recording, aside for “RCMP (Royal Corrupted Motherfuckin’ Pigs)” obviously, it’s the closing tracks that are the most interesting and entertaining at the end of the day. “Les Tenebres” has a nice progression throughout the song, starting off slow and just gradually building or transitioning back to that slower pace in a rather conceptual manner. It’s actually pretty impressive and will better hold your attention then half the longer tracks on here, like “Silent Genocide” and “Shadow Demons”. The guitar work on here is fantastic, especially the well suiting guitar solo, and the drums seemlessly shift around in patterns and really aid to keep things fresh throughout the entire track. This track is also an instrumental that seems to build up towards “Solitary Confinement”, another track that shifts in and out of slower paced music, though this allows the higher pitched screaming to kick in more often with that same overused vocal style. Other then that, it’s still a good song.
Casualties of War may not be the strongest Metal offering, but despite some of it’s faults, there’s still some solid tracks on here worth checking out. The main problem becomes the more repetitive screaming approach that gives more of a Death Metal meets Goregrind kind of feel along the lines of Impaled or Ghoul, but in the end just winds up being more annoying then anything. There’s a lot that the band needs to work on with this release, and a good amount of maturing to be done to really create a more effective and rich sounding experience like that of the song “RCMP (Royal Corrupted Motherfuckin’ Pigs)”, “Les Tenebrous”, even the title trrack aside the Stuck Mojo-esque shouting fit towards the end. As for it being a debut album, Dischord does their best, and while it’s not something worth rushing out to buy, Casualties of War worth checking out once or at least sampling it through a friend or on-line retail sample MP3s to try to find the better songs you’ll like off the release.
01. Casualties of War – 6:00
02. Silent Genocide – 8:12
03. Shadow Demons – 7:06
04. Spiritual Suicide – 4:03
05. Mortal Deity – 5:04
06. RCMP (Royal Corrupted Motherfuckin’ Pigs) – 4:35
07. Les Tenebres – 10:05
08. Solitary Confinement – 10:55
|Initial Pressing Score: 6.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Diminished Fifth Records.