Jack Slater – Extinction Aftermath – 3.5/5
I've spent long enough listening to this release so I guess its time I finally got my thoughts down on this blog. Whilst something can be said for its ability to last, the main reason for that is hardly down to unbridled originality or creativity or anything of the like. In fact its the exact opposite; its easy to listen to but it never really draws my focus beyond the occasional slow melody, and for a band that Metal Archives considers “Brutal Technical Death Metal” I'm not sure this is a good thing. Far from being overtly brutal or dominated by the quest for technicality, it actually has a rhythm which for me places it far closer to the likes of the melodeath band “Arsis” than their braindead brethren, which brings me full circle as another probable reason its sustained my interest for this long.
Already I predict two aspects that may turn people off before they are given the time of day; that 'melodic' descriptor and – what now seems to be a derogatory – 'technical' tag. If you go in expecting some Gothenburg clone, flowery power metal riffs over weak growls then you'll quickly be surprised as this is a band that doesn't sugar coat the genre to make it more palletable, instead demonstrating closer to an old school train of death metal thought where music is made by the melody and not the amount of distortion on the guitars. Likewise the technical aspect doesn't dominate the song structure but rather flows around it in an unrelenting array of quick guitar fills, riffs and solos mixed into the overarching composition allowing for the addictive simplistic guitar lines that dominate continue at their content mid-tempo.
But despite many aspects done precisely as I could have asked for, its still missing something; the drums make themselves known, the vocals roar and howl and the tracks are snappy enough to not stagnate, but it feels altogether too soft. No doubt partly down the production which has robbed many of the instruments of their bite, the music itself feels inexplicably unoriginal; as though they are re-exploring avenues already trodden and not quite doing it as well, which whilst doesn't make it inherently bad, doesn't make for terribly memorable music either. I'm sure there are legions of fans looking for modern death metal that can hold a melody and for them this surely will quench their thirst for a short period of time, but its unlikely that then once you've chewed up and spat back out everything it has to offer that you'll return for a second round.
Highlights: Dysthymia, Omniscience, Extinction Aftermath
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Posted by T. Bawden Wednesday, 19 May 2010