posted on 9/2008 By:
Poland's Dual Coma releases its second EP of what I’d seen described as “melodic death metal.” (In my extremely limited research, the band name is sometimes hyphenated, sometimes not—continuity: who needs it?) Although the melo-death tag is true in a few minor respects—Program H.A.T.E. has moments of both death metal and melody—after about thirty seconds of listening, that description begins to feel a bit misleading. Through the six songs on hand, Program H.A.T.E. spends a hefty amount of time in meaty post-Arise-Sepultura groove-thrash territory. Add to that the occasional soaring radio-metal chorus, and you’ve got Dual Coma’s not-uncommon mix of the extreme and the commercial. As is usually the case with Polish bands, Program H.A.T.E. is (ahem) polished and tight—some of these riffs are undeniably catchy and effective, even if, again typical of Polish bands, they’re not rewriting the book on anything.
Vocalist Czubaka rasps and shout/growls and, from time to time, actually sings. He evokes singers like Max Cavalera, Tom Araya and Sully Erna (or some other commercial metal yo-yo—shoot me if I got that one wrong), alternating between an accented thrash growl and those radio-ready hooks. As you’d imagine, the calculated bits of clean-voiced accessibility provide the album’s weakest moments. (That said, despite the diversity and my preference of his death/thrash growl, nothing in his performance is particularly amazing. He’s competent in many voices and bone-crushingly stellar in none.) In each instance of breakdown and clean voice, the band treads the path of ‘core, with a hearty dash of nu-metal, and in the process effectively negates any and all coolness that may lie in Program H.A.T.E.’s thrashier moments.
So yeah, there are breakdowns... Big juicy ones that lead into moments out of your favorite Ozzfest second-stage band, and this just falls into a narrow space between Killswitch Engage and Sepultura with dashes of whatever second-tier melodic death metal band suits your fancy. Well-played and sonically sound (pun intended), Program H.A.T.E. falls short in inspiration and originality, and in a more dire mistake than sheer redundancy, spends too much energy on breakdowns and second-rate Burton Bell clean vocal hooks to be anything more exceptional than your average thrashing metalcore. Not my thing, so count me out.
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