Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 12/1/2005
posted on 3/2007 By:
The day I shot out of mi madre's muff, dressed in full Manowar leathers and with false metal slaying sword in hand, I placed my left hand on the Necronomicon and recited the sacred Reviewer's Creed: “I will give even the most mediocre self-released album a fair shake.” It's something that I still hold to, even when confronted with an album like Ramhorn's Crystal Vanity, a doom/Death inspired snoozer with grating punk vocals. So, in the interest of being fair, in the interest of encouraging these metal moles to sniff around the surface for a fanbase instead of burrowing below in the name of “artistic integrity,” I will say this: Ramhorn have the tools to create competent metal if they could only find some kind of spark of originality.
Do yourself a favor, roll the dice, jump five spaces, and land on track six. “Survive” is a middle-of-the-album instrumental that's heavily indebted to Symbolic-era Death. Solid riffing, some active bass flourishes, and the best paced song on the entire record. Ramhorn show that their musicianship is at least passable and their instincts could lead them down an okay, albeit completely derivative career path. Will you fill your tighty-whities with man-yogurt upon listening? Lord no, but the song works for Ramhorn because “Survive” does two things the rest of the album does not: it ditches the vocals and it goes somewhere.
The rest of Crystal Vanity is one embarrassing misstep after another with woefully amateurish punk sneers that would've hit SST's trash can two decades ago, lyrical stinkers like, “I'll rip your head off/ And spit in your skull,” and uninspired clunky anachro-metal that desperately tries to relive the glory days of Dream Death and others in the most mindnumbingly monotonous way possible. Worst of all, it sounds so clinical, like it was programmed rather than played. Not only is Crystal Vanity faceless, continually exploiting a basic formula that might as well be the 12-bar blues of extreme metal, but it's more dated than a Trapper Keeper adorned with rejected Zubaz designs. Instead of patterning Crystal Vanity after the crème de la crème of the older generation, Ramhorn simply wants to sound like they're from the late '80s/early '90s by lazily lifting the bases of those bands without comprehending what made those landmark outfits truly special in the first place.
Crystal Vanity is an album that would be quickly dumped into the used bin by even the most fervent supporter of underground, self-released music. I'd normally say that if you don't believe me, you're more than welcome to swing by their site for audio samples, but Ramhorn doesn't even have audio samples. Considering that it's Two-Thousand-and-freaking-Seven and getting audio samples up on the Web is as simple as a couple of mouse clicks, they might as well have a giant watermark on their page that says, “Our music isn't worth listening to.” Who blindly buys albums in this day and age? Investigate further at your own peril.
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