Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 11/1/2004
posted on 1/2005 By:
Being a metal vocalist is akin to being a snapper for a football team. To the uneducated onlooker, your job seems pretty simple. And, at its root, it is. I mean, anybody can throw a ball between their legs, right? Just like anybody with a stout set of pipes and a decent amount of phlegm in their throat can belch over a metal album. The goal of these professions isn't to do something spectacular, you've simply got to avoid fucking up. Anonymity is key. Once you wander into the spotlight, chances are it's because you've done something you're not supposed to. Lament's vocalist Linda Alexander has done just that, fumbling the ball and letting her audience and teammates down.
This has got to be one of the more catastrophic vocal performances in metal history. I've always had respect for vocalists like Steve Austin, Thomas Lindberg and Devin Townsend -- vocalists who's passionate performances added a layer of distinctiveness to their band's sound uncommon in today's scene. However, upon listening to this album, I've learned to appreciate the vocalists whose names I will never care to learn, simply because they have provided me and their bands a great service by staying within their means and taking a back seat to the music. I'm not sure if the atrocious performance put on by Alexander is a result of her trying to do much, or just a severe lack of talent. Either way, her Cookie Monster meets Ms. Piggy growls are mixed far too high, making them impossible to ignore or separate from the rest of the recording. I not only blame Alexander's performance for ruining this recording, but also for the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, the economic downturn here in the states, and the untimely cancelation of My Two Dads. Yes, it's that bad.
But this is a demo, and this band is likely looking to stir up some buzz in the hopes of attracting some attention from labels. And, aside from Alexander's scourge inducing vocals, Lament have a lot going for them. Featuring Kevin Kuzma of New Jersey's seminal thrash purveyors Blood Feast, Lament produce a high quality product which shows strong ties to Kuzma's previous band, and the place in time from which they sprang. The production has a live, almost garage appeal. It's far from perfect, but all the instruments are given enough room and the mix allows for the immediacy of the music to shine through the grime. The riff-work shows an unmistakable Slayer/Kreator influence, which is successful due the band's unrelenting tempo and savvy songwriting. Certain songs on the album, like "Prison Cell," speak to thrash's punk derived roots, and they actually work remarkably well because of the consistency with which the band plays, and their ability to transition fluidly between the song's various riff sets.
In a nutshell, Lament are a very good band with a very bad singer. It's not entirely uncommon, but it's slightly disturbing that musicians with the ability to write the intense and professional music found on this demo could tolerate such a ghastly vocal performance. Are good throats really that hard to come by in the Garden State? It's also disturbing that a band with so much talent could possibly be derailed by one feeble link in their chain. My advice to labels who may read this review, give Lament a try -- they know their thrash metal, and they play it with conviction and heart. My advice to Lament -- find a new singer.
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