General Lee: Raiders of the Evil Eye

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General Lee: Raiders of the Evil Eye
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General Lee: Raiders of the Evil Eye
Atmospheric Sludge Metal, Mathcore
Play the Assassin Records
November 15th, 2012
Release length: 33:31
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French Sludge and Mathcore group General Lee returns to wreck your ear drums with the follow-up to 2010’s underground sensation, Roads. Issued through Play the Assassin Records, the band’s third full-length effort, Raiders of the Evil Eye, is easily one of the most anticipated efforts in the style today within the circles that are aware of their existence. Clocking in at just over thirty three minutes, the band incorporates seven brand new cuts for the avid listener. But, is this going to be one of the more important albums of their career, or is one that may very tank it before it begins overseas?

There’s plenty of good things to say about Raiders of the Evil Eye, and this includes the production. The audio to this album is simply top notch. The guitars have a nice mixture between cleaner chords for atmosphere, and harsher distortions for heavier passages. The bass is also nicely mixed into things with a deep presence that isn’t too loud, but still solid enough to be felt and easily picked up on. The shouting and screaming vocals offer a great range, and the additional layering in the background adds to the overall richness of the music. Finally, the snares of the drum kit have a nice echo on some of the tighter parts, as well as a somewhat ominous boom on others. The cymbals are crisp and aren’t too overbearing to the rest of the instruments, and the bass kicks have a bit of a thud to them that is largely drowned out. Sadly, this is the only aspect that doesn’t work out too well, sounding a bit out of place, but they do sound distinct enough and still contribute something to the final product.

The energy that is captured here completes that fantastic audio quality, even in the slower sections of many songs, showing a band clearly having fun and enjoying their time in the studio while playing what they love. Right away it’s blatantly obvious with “The Witching Hour.” The additional distortions do trick the listener into expecting a rougher offering, but about fifteen seconds in, it shifts to the crisp audio quality with a heavy, somewhat chaotic performance full of a greying atmosphere. The varied faster approaches are all extremely catchy, but it isn’t until about a minute-and-a-half that the rhythm becomes infectious before heading into a breakdown that slowly shifts into an intriguing, yet subtle tribal piece. This same energy carries through onto “Medusa Howls with Wolves,” another awe-inspiring piece that hits you hard the second the bass heavy riffs begin, but it’s “Alone with Everybody” that is the most promising. Sticking with more of a mid-pace, there’s a good deal of technicality in some of the riffs, and a bit of an upbeat spirit to the rhythm and performance, utilizing the lead chords to pave a powerful atmosphere that only helps to enhance the rich music. From the moment of impact, your head will be banging along until it draws to it’s climax and the pace slows down to focus on some simpler chords that allow the drumming to really stick out. Some soft clean singing is included, but ends with the ticking of a clock carried over from the introductory seconds of the performance, wrapping up the most impressive cut of the album perfectly.

While many tracks are a mid to high speed assault, not every one finds that tempo appropriate. “LVCRFT” is a moving, desolate piece. The heavy instruments start off in a manner one might expect of a Melodic Doom Metal, or even a melancholic Black Metal song, but it progressively grows in richness as more instruments are added to the largely constant guitar riff that opens things up. Background audio samples of ramblings that become more stern eventually appear, and the piece slowly becomes a more emotional offering that is a stark contrast to the many songs before, and even after it on “Running with Sharp Scissors,” the only unimpressive song of the release. It’s a nildly engaging song with simpler Mathcore riffs that focus on timing. While the latter aspect is still spot on, the material loses it’s heavier bite and becomes more open than anything. Some of the bridges and passages that build up to the chorus do shine through more, offering richer material and some additional atmosphere in the leads that are more a background element than the vitality they had earlier. The energy is there too, but unlike the others, it doesn’t really come through as exhilerating, causing this track to literally just sound lifeless at many points. Thankfully, as it progresses, so does some of the complexity and aggression, making it a rocky trip.

Raiders of the Evil Eye is easily one of the most surprisingly engaging and addicting albums of the year. The cross between Sludge Metal and glimmers of Mathcore, Hardcore, and even some Groove Metal all work together to create a truly atmospheric experience, running the gambit between melancholic, depressing, chaotic, to even a little upbeat. With only one song that simply doesn’t stand up to the weight that much of the album throws around, and with good right to do so, General Lee make their third full-length outting one that puts them firmly up there with the big dogs of the style. Raiders of the Evil Eye is simply a must own album from one of the Metal and Hardcore world’s most important new acts.

01. The Witching Hour – 3:44
02. Medusa Howls with Wolves – 4:06
03. Alone with Everybody – 5:43
04. Overwhelming Truth – 3:21
05. The End of Bravery – 4:44
06. LVCRFT – 6:25
07. Running with Sharp Scissors – 5:28
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

General Lee (band)

Digital review copy of this release provided by Play the Assassin Records via Earsplit PR.