The Damned, The Shamed
posted on 6/2008 By:
I admittedly don’t have a ton of experience with Terror. The Damned, The Shamed is the first of their albums that I’ve really sat down with; otherwise I’m familiar with Terror primarily via reputation. And what a reputation it is. Everything I heard about them suggested that they were a wild self-caricature, brimming with aggression but so stupid that they became clownish. This impression was sealed by Vogelisms.com, which many of you know is a compilation of Terror/Buried Alive frontman Scott Vogel’s baffling stage banter (if you haven’t seen it, you should—the man is a wordsmith to rival Yogi Berra). Terror sounded absurd but entertaining, and when they came through my city last year I went to witness the spectacle. There was no spectacle to be had, though. It turned out that Terror aren’t nearly as oversized in person as I’d been led to believe; their set was an energetic but standard metallic hardcore performance, and I ended up leaving well before its end. Unfortunately, The Damned, The Shamed has borne out that impression. Far from crazy machismo extravaganza I was hoping for, this album is workmanlike tuff-guy hardcore that sounds like nothing so much as a toned-down version of Hatebreed.
That’s not to say that these guys are a total Hatebreed clone—I’m sure other like-minded predecessors (Merauder or Sick of It All, maybe) have played into Terror’s creative process, such as it is. But for the average metalhead, Hatebreed will be the most immediate point of reference. The Damned, The Shamed’s thirteen songs blow by in half an hour—and throughout, it’s a ceaseless string of slowed down, simplified thrash riffs of the speedpick’n’power chord Slayer variety. The tempos at which these riffs are played serves as the band’s sole dynamic device. Specifically, they are played at a punk gallop for the verse, as stout grooves during the chorus, and at half-time for the breakdowns/dance part/whatever the fuck the ‘proper’ term for Terror’s heavy parts is. That’s it. The few deviations from this formula—a brief clean segment with a *gasp* guitar solo during “Betrayer” and some slightly more melodic chordage on “Lost Our Minds”—but both are such minor changeups that they seem almost perfunctory. It’s all played tightly and is enjoyable in small doses, but frankly there are dozens of bands who play virtually this exact style just as well. Nor does Vogel’s well-meaning but oafish attempt at heartfelt lyrics help distinguish Terror from their many peers. Sure, he sounds like he means every word and then some, but he speaks in a vocabulary of clichés and can’t seem to keep his very, very serious message straight. For example, on “Relentless Through and Through” Vogel decries pointless hatred, and then goes on to record a whole album dedicated to it (“Don’t you fucking look at me!” he howls on “What I Despise”). This is to say nothing of the fact that he sounds very much like a certain Headbanger’s Ball host—listen to the way he articulates “adVERSE-uhty” on “Feel the Pain.”
So there’s nothing immediately wrong with Terror, provided that highly repetitive songwriting is no object to you (and…well…we’re metalheads, so it’s probably not). I really just don’t understand where the hype around Terror comes from when there are so many carbon copy brutes running around the hardcore scene. The Damned, The Shamed will get the bandana wearers pumped at shows for sure, but on record it’s pedestrian in the extreme.
FUCK THESE KEYBOARDS IN OUR SCENE!
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