posted on 11/2006 By:
Though the bitching subject of choice amongst metalheads today is generally the proliferation of boring metalcore bands, I maintain there is just as much mediocre death metal per capita as there is any other subgenre. This is coming from someone whose favorite metal subgenre is death metal, so bear with me for a second. As I see it, there are three routes to being a boring mediocre death metal band. The first is shamelessly ripping off another band; no matter how good of a Morbid Angel clone you are, you’re still not that good just ‘cause you’re ripping off Morbid Angel. The second is going way overboard on speed and technicality, which is why Origin will never be much more than a novelty listen. The third—and the increasingly the least common—is relying too much on a few basic riffs to carry songs that otherwise aren’t very interesting. The band in question here—Retribution, out of Cinncinati—are guilty of numbers one and three.
And holy shit are they ever guilty. This band plays trudging, slightly sludgy, super-simple death metal that adheres stolidly to its middling pace for the entirety of this self-titled release’s ten tracks. Yup, you guessed it—sounds exactly like Six Feet Under and Jungle Rot. Right down to the thick, fuzzy, enjoyable guitar tone. But a nice guitar tone doesn’t save this album from being an exercise in tedium; after the initial brain-stem-level satisfaction of hearing crunchy riffage wears off, this shit gets real dull real fast. Bassist/vocalist Ryan Hammann has a rather annoying Barnes-style burp that saps even more energy from the already flat music, and the fact that the by-the-numbers rhythms rely heavily on his vocal patterns to stay interesting is of no help. The band seems to take some pride in the fact that drummer Brian Wright largely sticks to standard rock back beats instead of the usual DM arsenal of blasts and double bass runs, but honestly this music could use some more elaborate drumming. Bottom line is that this shit is just far too rudimentary to hold the interest of anyone who’s heard this style of death metal before—and god forbid (urm, Satan forbid or something, I guess) that he who enjoys this band ever hears Bolt Thrower, ‘cause they’re not likely to feel the need to come back. For ‘tard-death junkies only.
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