Release DetailsLABEL 567 Records
RELEASED ON 7/25/2006
posted on 9/2006 By:
Iscariot sounds as though they would bridge the gap between Lamb of God style populism and death metal purism. That is a noble enough endeavor if true, and makes for some interesting takes on the current American popular metal sound. Whereas the band lacks both the supercharged chord phrasing of a real DM act and the almost nanostring sharpness of Lamb Of God, they have two things that keep them from falling flat: ferocity and songwriting. They want their songs to be more than just "metalcore" hackery despite hewing close to that form and they go for this with moments of pure meat hacking violence. It sets them apart form the four hundred and twenty thousand other bands currently wallowing in the new headbanging for dollars game show.
Iscariot is unashamed to be generating melodic leads, complete with the sweeping arpeggios that seem to be every modern lead guitarist's drug of choice, and have the maniacally roared hardcore/death vocals that round out the cliché. But just when you figure you can swim through this review with some diatribe about non creative parrots with protools, the band throws a changeup at you, taking their songs down a somewhat more death metal path, and even a little blasting grind for gits and shiggles. Even the breakdowns rely on chord phrasing rather than simple chugging percussion. And this constant swinging makes the record stand out in a crowded scene.
The musicianship is up to the task the group has set before themselves, with good soloing and lead runs, some interesting riffing and generally flaying chords from the guitarists. The rhythm section gives the band an "edge of control" feel, but is really nothing out of the ordinary for this style. You expect tight playing and competence, and that's what you get. The singer is simply another shouting, roaring singer. The production gives the band a looser feel that you normally hear, allowing the drums to bounce around the mix a little, and giving some of the lower end chords a little squelch. It makes it sound more like a real band, but it can get a little messy sometimes. Not really a problem in my opinion. Takes some of the clinic out of the atmosphere.
If there is a downside to this it's that you definitely run the risk of falling into a "yeah, but I have heard this before, and too often" trap. I felt like whenever the record came close to this it always managed to pull back and throw a curve at me. But I may be a little forgiving because the stuff they are doing is kind of sending them down my particular happy death metal fetish alley. It's something to consider, either way.
But the bottom line is that this group takes a familiar style - over familiar, in fact, and pushes it around enough to make this a record worth owning. They do nothing wrong, and they bring plenty of right to the mix. I would recommend it to any metal fan, but most especially to those who think modern American "core" stuff has nothing to offer.
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