Release DetailsLABEL Deepsend
RELEASED ON 3/26/2005
Images of Violence
posted on 3/2005 By:
Here's a semi-interesting fact about me- I absolutely detest silence. I ardently refuse to travel anywhere without good music, and even trips to the convenience store downstairs involve are extensively, lushly soundtracked by my Discman and sinfully expensive headphones. I can think of few scenarios that require music more than studying- it is absolutely paramount that I have something to alleviate the excruciating tedium of schoolwork. While I'm more apt to play Jeff Buckley, Slint and Explosions In The Sky while I perform this daily ritual than my latest extreme metal infatuation, something prompted me to give this Images of Violence record a spin instead. Three hours later, I have decided, upon several repeated listens, that this possibly fares just as well for passive listening, largely because it is unengaging and simply stimulates nothing further than a scant, pedestrian listen.
For some stifling, elusive reason, the same label that blessed us with Cock & Ball Torture, Cinerary, Scattered Remnants, Decomposing Serenity, Gorerotted and the nifty Saprogenic have decided to unleash a record that sounds like a lukewarm composite of the aforementioned bands. Taking the bloodthirsty, perverse grind of early Cock & Ball Torture (before they degenerated into the mid-tempo, guttural farce that they are today), the quasi-melodic, fast-but-not-blisteringly-so approach of Scattered Remnants and PLENTY of trademark Devourment/Saprogenic pit-clearing breakdowns, Images of Violence have concocted a sound that is almost offensively predictable, one which, upon a more active and critical listening, begs the question: why on earth is there a market for this stuff anymore?
Not that the record doesn't have its charm- I'm absolutely certain that this band would be quite the experience in a live setting. There is no doubt in my mind that IoV's penchant for dance-friendly mosh passages would catalyze a flurry of mindless violence and obnoxious unruliness, but on record this is so linear and redundant it's frankly insulting. There are glimmers of hope here and there- the stop-start, magma thick riffing and furious, Jesse Pintado-ish blasts that open "Greedy As A Pig" actually attempt to live up to the Napalm Death comparisons suggested on the Deepsend website, but midway through the song, the inevitable happens- chug-a-chug-chug, here comes the mosh part, so watch out for flying limbs!
While I have no major gripes about the musicianship on show with this effort, everything is just so standard issue that I can't help but voice my dismay. While similar-minded acts like Dying Fetus and Misery Index enlisted the stellar services of one Kevin Talley to add musicality, finesse and piquancy to straightforward, steamrolling song structures, the drumming on this record revolves is far more utilitarian and functional. Tempo shifts are carried out admirably well, fills are precise (and dull), but the drumming is so damn uncreative, something that is further highlighted by a drum sound that fails to accentuate the musical nuances between the different crashes and rides. The guitars are equally stock- downtuned, sludgy, churning slabs of brawny messiness, broken up by painfully obvious breakdown passages, often preluded by the standard hardcore practice of isolating and panning the lead guitar to one speaker, allowing it to do the requisite chug-a-chug before the rest of the band jumps in and arms start flailing in the pit. Fuck, does it really have to be so meatheaded?
Before someone goes off on me, before you you saddle up on the Internet tough guy horse, intent on assailing this reviewer in the name of brutal death metal, note that I harbor absolutely no disdain towards this style of death metal whatsoever. I enjoy Misery Index on occasion, and have been an avid fan of acts like Disgorge for longer than I'd care to remember. Yet, there is something to these bands far BEYOND the wanton, juvenile breakdown- Disgorge's technical brilliance and complexity eclipses their outrageous lyrical preoccupations, and Misery Index, on the opposite extreme, emanate a captivating ingenue in their simplistic crossover punk/thrash/grind hybrid that recalls Charles Bronson, Terrorizer, Cryptic Slaughter, Gism and D.O.A. just as much as it does Dying Fetus. Images of Violence just do not appear to have the talent to wed brutal death and grind traditions quite as successfully as the genre's most successful outfits, and sound woefully second tier throughout the recording, unable to reconcile their more primitive Extreme Noise Terror inclinations with a more modern aesthetic.
So yeah. This record pretty much exemplifies all the stereotypes about tough-guy brutal death metal today. The vocals are suitably guttural, the blastbeats are relentless, the rhythms are bludgeoning, the lyrics are absurd, the record is chock-full of parts you can strangle people to. Who really cares if you have to sit through 2 minutes of stale, rancid crud to get to the breakdown? I really do. Maybe it's because I was listening to Agiel and Lethargy before this, maybe I should cut them some slack, but I think I'll adhere to my GUTTURAL reaction and gives this a thumbs down. Go listen to some Master instead.
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