Congregating The Sick
posted on 7/2005 By:
The feral ministrations of revivalist sun-sound guitar tone can only push an album so far. One might even suggest that revivalism in general can only be pushed so far. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the wall. Via Congregating the Sick your arrival at the wall will be unpleasant. Not content to simply deliver the listener within a reasonable proximity, Ribspreader choose a full on dead-horse-beating approach which will leave you dazed and stupefied by its blunt blandness. The wonderfully unclean guitar tone, throaty Akerfeldt wannabe vocals, and toe tapping old school approach are all in place and somehow this album manages to brutally suck the life and character from them. Yes Virginia, stylistic preoccupation can be taken too far.
Guilt by association leads to a certain type of reference material. I think you will find my choice of comparison congruent to say the least. After the prerequisite musician departures, Bloodbath seemed to forget that they are a gimmick and took a shot at some kind of modern musical relevance. I vastly preferred their less original efforts and have no problem with entertaining schtick when the attitude is one of open honesty. Yes we steal riffs, but it’s because we love this style and are having some fun doing it. After ushering Mr. Swanö away from the drum throne and bringing in a pal from Paganizer, the Ribspreader camp have attempted a second outing that does not deviate one iota from the first effort, save a slightly less punk oriented approach on the kick drum. Unfortunately, the fun attitude is not in place and neither is the key ingredient: an enthusiastic performance.
When one hears an album was tracked at Soundlab by Mieszko Talarczyk and mastered at The Room by Dan Swanö, there are certain expectations. The flat cut n’ paste sound of this record fails to meet many of them. If it is possible for a live drummer to sound any more unlifelike, then I hope from the deepest recesses of my marrow that I never to hear it. Almost hypnotic in the way they seem to lag and drag the energy of the whole album down; the percussion fiasco is due in part to production and part to performance. If ever there was an example to wave as the flag, warding off potential clients, this is it. Users of digital recording equipment; do not ‘fix’ your drummer’s performance. It creates stale, awful, and lifeless results.
As of June 26th the band have apparently called it quits. I can show enough restraint and respect for what they tried to do by not making any quips regarding the appropriate nature of that decision. You as a member of the purchasing/pilfering community associated with heavy metal music only need to know that this album is not at all a necessity. My one word summation: Tedious.
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