Release DetailsLABEL Acerbic Noise Development
RELEASED ON 1/1/2005
I signed up to review this album because I found the band name amusing. I assumed they’d be a mediocre death metal band, although the cover art should have clued me in to the fact that something more interesting was going on. In actual fact, Hematovore play a mix of sludge, metalcore, and progressive death metal akin to a faster and rawer version of Pelican. The comparison also holds up in the fact that Hematovore happen to be an instrumental band. A lot of people find instrumental music difficult to get into, and I’ll admit that without vocals, music tends to seem denser and less memorable. However, the lack of vocals can also make a band’s music seem more flowing and epic, provided that their material holds up.
Many metal fans will inform you that a frontman is, in fact, the least important member of a band, and although I agree to some extent, I feel that lyrics and vocals anchor a band and make the material easier to process. In essence, to my ears, a group who operate without a singer are intentionally handicapping themselves, and I generally suspect that such a group have been driven to “instru-metal” due to their inability to find an adequate frontman, not a firm artistic choice to eschew a singer. All of this notwithstanding, Hematovore’s impressive album makes me forget my general prejudice against the approach they have chosen to take. Why? Because it’s pretty damn good.
While an amalgam of genres generally sounds awkward, the fact that there are no vocals on top of this material makes the fusion seem far more natural than it might have under other circumstances. Hematovore make three minute tracks seem like they are eight minutes, and that’s no complaint; the lack of vocals makes the nuances of the music more obvious, and the subtle progression that occurs over the course of each song is far more apparent due to the fact that one must focus on the instrumental parts; there are no vocals to guide the listener. That fact forces the band to be all the more inventive to make up for what they lack, and the results are impressive and extremely listenable.
The band’s level of technicality is rather high; all of the instrumentalists are able to play both fast and tastefully. This isn’t an flat out shred-fest like some instrumental albums, but there are many sections which are very demanding from a technical standpoint. Another thing that should be noted is the fact that there are three guitarists, each of whom adds a lot to the overall sound. Putting together three complimentary parts for the principle instrument takes skill, and Hematovore deserve respect for having done this.
On the whole, this is a really cool, fairly unique album that hasn’t been getting a whole lot of attention from the underground, at least not to the best of my knowledge. If you can get past the lack of vocals, there’s something on this disc for any metal fan. Don’t be put off by their name – check these guys out.