The Deep And Dreamless Sleep
posted on 10/2006 By:
One of the perks of reviewing albums is the chance to check up on new work from long lost acts like Meliah Rage. Some stones are best left unturned though.
Although I hadn’t heard anything from the band since the days of their 1988 debut Kill to Survive, it still comes as no surprise that today’s Meliah Rage has toned down the thrash quotient. No gripes there. Likewise, a reasonable listener wouldn’t expect to hear an album of equal quality or style as the band’s two decade old debut. What I WAS hoping to find is a gutsy, blue collar effort rooted in vintage metal ethos, even if it also mixed in some more contemporary elements. The Deep and Dreamless Sleep ain’t that. Instead, the album has a St. Anger-like quality of a band that has abandoned their roots and are grasping at stylistic straws in an attempt to remain relevant in today’s scene. The irony is that another album in the vein of Kill To Survive would have meant much more to metal fans, new to the band or otherwise. Maybe I’m making unfair assumptions about the band’s creative motivations, and they’re simply trying to evolve. Regardless, this isn’t getting the job done.
Quite a bit of the material on The Deep and Dreamless Sleep has a distinct modern-Metallica feel, both in sound and disjointed style. Exhibit A: "God and Man", which opens with a thick chugging Metallica-flavored intro and verse, then slips into a quasi Alice In Chains bridge, before a chorus of half-whispered vocals that sound like an imitation of a Tomahawk track. Whether Meliah Rage means to cycle through these influences is unknown, but the fact that the band makes the impression that they don’t know what they mean is a problem. Not all of their ideas are bad ones, but their cobbling together of mostly modern approaches to rock and metal creates a rudderless patchwork that does many things but none of them well enough to make a difference. The vocal work of new recruit Paul Souza also contributes to the Metallica comparisons, and his gruff delivery usually is passable, but some of the clean vocals and harmonies are less effective. The title cut is the most dramatic offender, sporting some sugary cleans that sound like they’re coming from a twenty year old scenester rather than twenty year metal vets. Not sure what they’re going for here, but the phrase “Mariah Rage” comes to mind. It’s too bad, as the song also boasts some nice heavier sections and decent change ups. The pedestrian drum pace (especially the snare work) also frequently takes some sting out of the songs. Every once in awhile, such as “Curse” and parts of several other tracks, the band kicks things into gear, and these songs are marginally more effective, but still carry some shortcomings. I was really hoping to find some good things to say about this long serving, albeit intermittently, Boston band, but The Deep and Dreamless Sleep didn’t give me much to work with this time around. Avoid.
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