Release DetailsLABEL Galy
RELEASED ON 5/2/2006
Gaining Freedom at the Expense of Virtue
posted on 5/2006 By:
Ready for something totally fresh and interesting? Well, head on over to the Protest The Hero review posted a few slots over, because this ain’t it. However, Shaolin’s Gaining Freedom At The Expense Of Virtue EP doesn’t flat-out suck, and has it's moments of genuine quality, but I’m afraid this review might have already been written before.
My original write-up was more of a rant than anything, and honestly, the internet is full of plenty of ranting about the stagnant pool of mediocrity the metalcore scene has become. At this point, I’m pitying it rather than wishing for its demise, because I’d rather hear it ascend instead (hurry up Glass Casket). You have to understand that I use the term “metalcore” liberally because I was around when the term was first coined back in the very early 90s, thanks to Madball and the Crumbsuckers, although it was an entirely different animal back then. There was faint hope that perhaps this EP would also be a totally different animal than the current crop of bands to choose from, but unfortunately it isn’t. Not only is it not different, it’s completely average.
Sorry, but that strange hybrid of strained black metal screaming, and “brutal” death metal growling isn’t showing innovation, it’s jumping onto a trend. Polyrhythms aren’t a new thing, and even I know how to chug a triplet riff on the E and stick a squeal on the end of it despite being an untalented, uncoordinated dork. And no, I probably couldn’t play everything on this EP because admittedly, only scant moments of this are simple, and it takes a bit of precision and talent to be this energetically pedestrian. The Fear Factory-on-crack staccato is somewhat impressive but only in technical execution and nothing else, so the music really isn’t bad at all. It’s not like Shaolin are doing anything wrong, but they’re also not doing anything new, or for that matter trying to do anything outside of what is already available from dozens of other bands who are also doing nothing new. Well-played, thunderous deathcore featuring an abundance of odd time changes, stammering breakdowns, adventurous fretboard wizardry, and at least five different types of varying harsh or forceful vocals all wrapped up in a rather primitive production job. There you have it.
I realize there are differences between record labels and the individual products they provide, so by saying Shaolin would fit perfectly into the Prosthetic Records family, I also assume you’ll have a good general idea what to expect on Gaining Freedom At The Expense Of Virtue because of that comparison. If there’s one thing I should stress, it’s that this isn’t a pathetic or boring EP by any means, it just treads very similar ground to the many Through The Eyes Of The Dead, Of Graves And Gods-type bands out there (I know they’re not the exact same, don’t start). There are undoubtedly catchy and clever songwriting twists, and the musicianship is respectable enough, but there isn’t enough here to cause any spark of interest in seeing what a full-length would produce against the competition when there’s already enough of this stuff out there to choose from. So unless you’re really a diehard fan of this already creatively dry kind of coarsely death-tinged, malicious hardcore, then perhaps you’ve already read too much.
Register to post comments.