February 15th, 2011
Release length: 38:11
Surprisingly, the main musical compositions on this recording are much like their last offering, and are solid Deathcore tracks. The music is often intense and hammers away at the listener with pounding somewhat technical riffs, like with “Fire Crotch (The Venereal Van Ride)” introduces listeners to. The problem is that this song features the band’s generic breakdowns that are very lame and contain plenty of dead air between the guitars and drums. Sadly, it doesn’t really get much better from here, though the songs do eventually pick up and have more to the breakdowns then that track, and many of them feel much more fluid with the songs, and less forced into it. The introduction of the album, “Clinger (Stage 5)”, is actually a rather comical piece using audio samples that seem to come from a cell phone of a girl demanding a guy stay off her Facebook account, and to stop sending friends to it. With how serious the girl is, and the tone of her voice, it’s almost hysterical to hear in it’s clearly satyrical form before slamming right into the next track.
So, with it being acknowledged that, for the most part, the breakdowns on here aren’t anything impressive, as well as bring the band closer to their roots once more with them being extended further then necessart and often sounding hollow in composition and with dead air, the only thing left to worry about is the music. As stated, “Fire Crotch (The Venereal Van Ride)” makes a good starting point, but the rest of the material on here is so greatly varied, it’s often hard, if not impossible, to not get into something on here. While many of the songs just hammer away with great Deathcore prowess, you also have songs like “Cocaine Avalanche” that really mix things up. This track has more of an influence from Southern Rock/Metal, having a stronger foundation from that in the music then Death Metal or Deathcore in any form, and even has a vocal performance with rhaspy vocals that come off a little more Thrashy then anything. Some tracks also have some catchy Groove hooks, like “Welcome to Camp Nightmare”, which also features some of the better breakdowns of the release, as well as “Song Before the Song” which is actually a very light song that feels a little more Groove inspired Death with Melodic Death Metal overtones, though it breaks out into a small section of record scratches and sounds common to rap albums, including riffs that start it out to a Rap Metal section, though luckily the vocals don’t break out into it before the Breakdown kicks in and rips your face off before it goes into the empty, goes nowhere brand of breakdown the band is known for. There are even some moments of furious Grindcore thrown in to even things out nicely, and it works very well for the band, though the group has always had some influences from Grindcore in some of their material over the years, so this doesn’t really come as much of a surprise to find it here.
While some of the breakdowns do feel empty, go nowhere, or just have a lot of dead air to them, not all are bad. The breakdowns on “Currently Sexting…” and “Pure and Immature (Goon)” feel that way, but they aren’t bad and can just be shrugged off, not hindering the song at all. For the most part, that’s how most of these songs are with the breakdowns, having solid music that just feels derailed for a few moments. They often aren’t too long, and the actual music typically makes up for them. And, with that said, there’s plenty of great songs on here, and not just those pointed out above. In fact, “Who You Gonna Call?!” completely dwarfs out all other songs on the record as being one of the catchiest tracks on here that is very well done, has a fantastic catchiness throughout, and even the breakdown is good, though the transition to it isn’t as strong. And this is really where the album takes off. The songs here feel far more unique, coming off more like “Cocaine Avalanche”, and are just very addicting with catchy guitar hooks that have a good helping of Hard Rock attitude, but all saturated into a melodic approach, really making these songs, as well as the band stand out and actually give this band that party atmosphere they have tried to create since day one, especially with the more party oriented guitars that appear on “Slampig (…and Then the Bitch)”.
In the end, this is actually a very impressive album. The only real let down are some of the empty breakdowns that just feel tacked on or go nowhere. Other then that, the music is great, though the start of the album isn’t really as good as the later half of the release. Dr. Acula is really starting to come together as a group and become an impressive force in the metal community, and Slander is something that is actually well worth checking out when you get a chance. If only the band could better transition the breakdowns on the songs, instead of either forcing them in or using an audio sample to segway into it, or just write better ones that fluidly move in and out of the songs without need of a transition to begin with. If you’ve been skeptical about Dr. Acula before, then take the time to check out Slander.
01. Clinger (Stage 5) – 0:46
02. Fire Crotch (The Venereal Van Ride) – 2:40
03. Welcome to Camp Nightmare – 3:52
04. Currently Sexting… – 2:44
05. Cocaine Avalance – 3:17
06. Song Before the Song – 3:46
07. Pure and Immature (Goon) – 2:55
08. Who You Gonna Call?! – 3:42
09. All Work, No Play – 2:59
10. Slander – 3:49
11. Slampig (…And Then the Bitch) – 2:47
12. Party 2.0 – 2:06
13. The Big Sleep – 2:48
|Overall Score: 8.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Victory Records.