posted on 12/2007 By:
If an example of the futility of the “now generation” is needed, this debut from Pennsylvania’s Subdue is as good as any. Masquerading as a full-length album, this ten-track lump of pain is of decidedly sub-demo quality, crafted by an amateur band that has a long way to go. The band has gone to great lengths to hide this fact -- they boast of guitar pick and drumstick sponsorships, produce a lengthy list of popular bands that they have played with (read: they’ve been that local band flailing onstage as you file into the venue and buy your first beer), and even commissioned Niklas freaking Sundin to do their cover art.
This approach is problematic, because with all the professional posturing that this band projects, the image is completely shattered as soon as the ‘play’ button is hit. This sounds more like a playback of a garage rehearsal than an actual album. Hampered by anemic, awkward drumming and horribly off-key vocals, listening to Ununoctium is like getting punched (repeatedly) in the breadbasket by an obese dwarf while watching your girlfriend make out with Wilford Brimley. They don’t carve out much of a sound for themselves, and instead resign to hacking away through nondescript metallic muck with minimal technique. The leads are very Hammett-esque, and seem to pop up at random, but that’s about the only type of musical reference I can cull from this. Maybe one could refer to this as ‘melodic thrash’, but it really just sounds like a band that hasn’t found their sound yet.
Subdue fail because they place a higher value on status than they do on substance. Playing gigs, selling t-shirts, and accumulating MySpace friends seem to be their modus operandi, when their sights should be set on learning how to play. It should go without saying that the cash they've spent on the cover art would’ve been better used on a vocal lesson or five; and when there’s not a single song that harbors a confident riff progression or creative idea, recording nine tracks of this stuff seems ridiculous (and don’t get me started on the untitled ballad that fills the track 10 slot). Instead of spreading themselves so thin and creating an album that really doesn’t need to exist, they should’ve focused their energies on creating a rock solid, 4-5 track EP…the kind of thing a young band can build upon with an eye on the future. Instead, they’ve thrown themselves headlong into the fire with a headache-inducing embarrassment of a first album, and unless they hunker down and practice (a lot) for the next couple years, they might’ve prematurely killed any chance at credibility. Let this be an example to other like-minded young bands out there: There’s no substitute for songwriting, and instant gratification isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
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