Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 7/22/2006
Songs For The Incurable Heart
posted on 10/2006 By:
Trendwhores are inevitable, and when you can't escape them, as I can not, you have to assign them into subcategories. In modern popular metal there are bands like Lamb of God and All Shall Perish that would constitute very worthwhile acts with a real creativity and style of their own. Bands that, despite being a part of the popular trend, are also somehow above it, and who should outlast the scene they currently get associated with. On the opposite end are bands like Our Gang's Dark Oath, who are as hack and unprofessional as you can stand, offering nothing more than the very least compelling aspects of a movement that is by it's very nature over played. And then there are the bands that you don't see any reason to despise, but you could never get behind and push. Trivium, for example. These bands are unquestionably talented and make some good music, but you know you are hearing merely the best of the average. All these bands are struggling against their popular trend's vortex of saturation, which makes the groups that stand out, in my mind, even more compelling.
Stemm is toeing a line between the better hacks and the true greats of popular modern metal. Eschewing even mid paced poppishness for a slower, almost numetal funk and riff combo, the singer, when screaming, is all hardcore flex, and when the melodious lyrics pop up he adds a throatiness that reminds me of Fear Factory, or even Sevendust who, in my opinion, were one of the few very good 'numetal' acts to come out of the 2000 popmetal scene. The compositions are actually compelling, in a more or less expected way, and so I have a hard time finding a real reason to dislike these songs. Moreover, the way the band performs them is without crap and with the idea to get the listener to forget all the popular bullshit and remember that metal CAN be both accessible and integral.
A good, crisp and sharp recording complements the band's strengths and keep the energy level high. The musicianship is more than adequate, but certainly not on the Lamb of God tier. The only real drawback to all this is that the band, for all it's verve, is another popular modern metal band, so the vortex is sucking in the background no matter how hard you try to ignore it. If you can get zen on this thing you can get the metal you need from it. But if you can't you spend as much time thinking about the bands you don't want to hear anymore as you do thinking about this band, and that is a problem. There are clichés and you will hear them.
The bottom line ends up positive, though. This four sing EP/Sampler had me nodding and losing myself even as I worked. Perhaps the brevity of the thing adds a little to it's charm, but I would like to hear a full length to see for myself. Great quality, great performances and great composing that even the specter of popmetal boredom can't completely shroud, this is a chugging little listen and gets a recommend.
Register to post comments.