Someone Has To Kill The Headwriter
posted on 5/2006 By:
Allow me to open this review with an obnoxious question:
What the fuck is The Smackdown doing on Goodfellow?
Now, that in and of itself isn’t a criticism of The Smackdown (we’ll get to that part later). I think of Goodfellow as an extremely solid and consistent label with a catalog of innovative acts (Cursed, Intronaut, Blessing the Hogs, etc.), and moreover as a label whose staple constituents are extremely heavy and musically bleak. The Smackdown doesn’t exactly fit in amongst this intimidating company. Though not complete lightweights, this band seems far more aimed towards the constricted-testicle MySpace-rat crowd than their labelmates are, which will likely turn most of you away from this band right off the bat.
To their credit, The Smackdown aren’t as gratingly pop-centric as Panic! At the Disco or the like, nor are they quite as self-consciously idiosyncratic as Fear Before the March of Flames or The Blood Brothers. This said, the same dissonance-heavy guitar style and yelping/screaming/mewling vocals predominate on Someone Has to Kill the Headwriter, and their fanbase will be largely the same as those of the aforementioned bands. The Smackdown do possess a little more hardcore punk grit than their fellows; the jangling discordance of Ink and Dagger shows up in the band’s slower moments, while some Girls’ terse, spastic ferocity rears its head when The Smackdown kick up the tempo. The band does the latter quite frequently, actually; it’s one of Someone Has to Kill the Headwriter’s biggest problems. Aggravating aesthetic, stupid vocals and lame wrestling gimmick (yes, the band’s moniker is a reference to the WWE program) aside, there’s hardly a track on this album that you’ll remember without multiple listens. The Smackdown go through thirteen tracks of nonstop diminished-chord riffage and almost unbroken speed in about twenty minutes; the extremely brief, disorganized song structure makes for an impenetrable listen on early spins.
Even repeated, focused listening can’t extract a whole lot of value from Someone Has to Kill the Headwriter. The album is well-produced and contains a number of good segments (the quasi-melodic stretches in “The Dave Mustaine Syndrome” and “Taking Over Primetime” are some of the few memorable moments to be had here), but ultimately it’s just a collection of brief and not particularly interesting guitar parts strung together and supported by thrashy drumming. A cutesy layout and the requisite selection of kitschy song titles don’t even come close to making this one worthwhile. Recommended only if you’re fiending for that cats-fighting-in-a-bag sound but keep getting locked down by the SPCA.
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