Drawn And Quartered
Merciless Hammer Of Lucifer
posted on 8/2007 By:
Whenever leafing through a metal mag, it’s inevitable that a Moribund Records ad will appear about midway through, proudly sporting the cover art for the latest Drawn and Quartered disc. Despite the Cult’s faithful promotion of the band, this is the first time my path has crossed that of DAQ. With four previous albums under their bulleted belts, curiosity has built to the point of bewilderment. Why, with my predilection towards caustic death metal, hasn’t this crew found their way to my eardrums sooner? Or, at the very least, why haven’t they been brought up in some type of PBR-fueled metallic conversation?
Well, if Merciless Hammer of Lucifer is any reflection of their reputation, the fact that they suck maggot-encrusted balls might have quite a bit to do with it.
Straight away, this album kicks you in the temple with a steel toe of shitty production; whoever engineered this thing should be shot in the face. Twice. I don’t know whose idea it was to apply a paper-thin, buzzing guitar tone to these ‘Made in China’ versions of Immolation riffs, but it certainly isn’t doing the band any favors. In combination with the Pixy Stix-on-cardboard drums, the piercing (in a bad way) title track literally sounds like my alarm clock set to blast beats. I can handle some less-than-stellar sound quality as long as some nasty, gnashing nihilism is lurking underneath, but this album is connect-the-dots American DM of the lowest grade. I’ve heard this type of thing hashed out a million times before, and I’ve heard it done far more convincingly. Forgive me for being intolerant, but with a new Aeon album lurking around the corner (not to mention Xecutioner's Return, for death’s sake), any straight-up DM bands that aren’t bringing the riffage with full, bludgeoning force are going to be weeded out mercilessly. With so many dyed-in-the-wool purists flying this style’s flag, success boils down to performance and execution, and on every instrumental front, this band is subpar. The vocals, in particular, peter out of the speakers with minimal force, as Herb Burke barfs out the most half-hearted Frank Mullen/Chris Barnes-style death gurgle I’ve heard since I saw that horseshit local band open for Dying Fetus that one time….I think they were called Talentless Crapfest, but my whiskey-damaged memory fails me.
One would think that after such a lengthy career, this collective would be able to muster up something menacing and worthwhile, but they’ve just phoned one in. That’s unforgivable when your band is barely on the cusp of the third tier; almost as unforgivable as asking loyal metalheads to shell out cold, hard cash for an unpleasant aural experience. It’s 2007, guys. I’ve got old Krabathor albums sitting in the vault that destroy this on every level; why turn this on when there’s been tons of superior DM floating around for fifteen years? I can’t even appreciate the inherent metalness and purity of something like this when the sonic experience itself feels like swimming underwater with a head cold. This is congested, wheezy, annoying, headache-inducing, boring death metal. They should have called this album Merciless Ball-Peen Hammer Tapping You with Moderate Force on the Back of Your Head for Forty Minutes. If this album had a face, I’d slap the shit out of it. Twice.
“What if fried beans are just as good as refried beans, and we’re just wasting time?”
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