Five Star Prison Cell
Slaves Of Virgo
posted on 7/2007 By:
What the hell did I get myself into?
Jerking the curtain, Slaves to Virgo steps out with a gigantic, Fear Factory-style cyber bomb of a riff that’ll tickle your blood, provided you jive on that sort of thing. With their self-billing as “technical metal”, these initial moments produced a rush of excitement, as the possibility of this band creating an industrial-tinged, nimble-wristed romp seemed extremely appealing. Hopes ran high for the first two minutes or so, in speculation that this band could somehow channel the best of countrymates The Amenta and Alarum to craft a technical epic. Alas, things get a bit sticky after those two minutes are in the books. Really, really sticky.
Because after that initial, fleeting rush, things start to get weird. Not creepy/cool Root weird, but I-really-wish-I-was-listening-to-something-else weird. It becomes obvious that Five Star Prison Cell is a band that loves to throw a ton of goop at the goofball prog wall. And while some of it adheres, the unfortunate truth is that most of it doesn’t. Instead of hanging around on the virtuosic side of the tech metal spectrum, they prefer to frolic on the mathematically inclined side o’ the fence. Refusing tasteful restraint, the band members fly in from every direction, delivering an atonal blitzkrieg of indulgent fireworks. Needless to say, this is a recording that will appeal to the loopy Dillingerphiles out there. Pocket-protectored air drummers will fall in love with this band’s lack of attention span, but for this metalhead, the urge to turn this aimless, overambitious algebra exercise the fuck off is overwhelming.
Despite my disdain for Slaves to Virgo’s approach, there are certain redeeming qualities found herein that will make their next record one to spy on, despite the fact that this album is nearly unlistenable. Adam Glynn’s vocals are freaking amazing, regardless of the fact that he wouldn’t recognize a hook from an extra ball sack growing out of his ankle. His bouncing, Patton-esque ramblings are second only to the man himself, and are truly an artistic expulsion to behold. One problem: the production muffles his vocalizations to such a degree that it renders them a mere curiosity, effectively stifling the most exciting element of this band. Granted, the instrumentation is absolutely huge, so when fighting for attention in the mix, someone has to take a bullet. That bombastic wall of sound is best personified in the aforementioned opener, “Do The World a Favour”, which is brimming with glorious Fearshuggah stylizations among their noodly-doodly wonks. Fortified with a cohesion that the remaining ten tracks sorely lack, this is a cool song that showcases the potential that this band could harness if they’d stop whipping so much shit at the fan and got a handle on themselves.
All in all, Five Star Prison Cell is a band with an obscene amount of potential and talent, but has failed to translate said qualities into something that doesn’t make me violently ill. Keep a wary eye on future endeavors, but a closed ear to Slaves to Virgo.
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