Release DetailsLABEL Bowsh Records
RELEASED ON 8/17/2005
Philadelphia In Ruins
posted on 12/2005 By:
Everyone at MetalReview has to take one for the team every now and then. Today is my turn. Strik-9 represents the city of Philadelphia, PA, and they play an ill-suited amalgamation of various heavy genres. But what it mostly sounds like is a bunch of throwback nu-metallers who stumbled across a couple of Six Feet Under or Deicide albums.
The production of the album is alternately thin and muddy on the guitars, while the bass exudes that clickiness that Korn has exploited for years. Their vocals are front and center in the mix and pretty bad. When the guy gets his growl on, he’s got promise, but those are the exceptions and not the norm. More often he either rants or screams, and usually at questionable points in the song. But the real tragedy of this album is that when you least expect it, they fall into rhythm and deliver 20 seconds of quality death, thrash, or melodic metal. So the ability is there, but for whatever reason, they keep it locked away, in favor of long passages of noisy squeals, or silence-backed vocals, or what-have-you. If they employed an outside editor on this album, it’d be pared down to about 10-15 minutes, but would be worth 1-2 more MR songwriting points.
A perfect example of what I’m talking about is the opening track, “Weatherman”. The first riff thrashes pretty hard, then the next riff sounds like really old Korn, which could be far worse. From there it gradually degrades, eventually bottoming with an acoustic passage…but then they stumble onto another fine riff! Put that guy in charge. “Raped of Identity” is another case of double identity. High-note harmonizing leads into a Maiden-esque riff, which is followed by…sound effects and talking. Why? The rest of Philadelphia in Ruins progresses like that. At better times, sounding like Korn-meets-Pantera, at worse times sounding like teenagers fucking around in Mom’s basement.
This really isn’t anything that the greater MR audience needs to hear, at least at this point in their musical career. To the band: there’s some potential buried in these songs, it just needs to be brought out and focused upon. Nobody liked it when Robb Flynn put music-less chasms between decent shards of metal either.
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