posted on 12/2008 By:
I’ll give it to Naer Mataron: they’ve got fire in their bellies, if only dinky embers capable of creating an ulcer at worst. But I almost feel like the Darkthrone knob-gobblers should’ve gotten the picture by now that the “blast for Satan” formula is wearing thin. Apparently Naer Mataron didn’t get the memo in time for Praetorians.
In my review earlier this year for Trigger the Bloodshed’s Purgation, I mentioned the drummer had arguably used up all of his tricks by the third track, and his performance nearly sucked the life out of everything Trigger the Bloodshed had to offer. Naer Mataron’s drummer, conversely, does nothing but blast beats, completely overshadowing originality and variety for a tried (and tr00) formula that is showing its age. It seems curt to say an extreme metal band needs to learn to do something other than one of its musical hallmarks. In truth, that is not the case all the time. Many bands have employed the same technique again and again for several decades with little denigration to their sound or fan base. Here, the drums are a massive part of Praetorian’s sound, as is evident by its equal share of the mix, resulting in a triggered, monotonous display of talent. Trigger the Bloodshed and Naer Mataron’s drummers are on opposite ends of a drum spectrum, one technical, the other primitive, each a little too far in their own respective direction to be taken seriously.
That is not to say the rest of the band falters in their respective instruments, but, much like the drums, the instrumentation wears thin too, arguably due to excessive song length. Singularly, the riffs are great and never in short supply; in stark contrast, there is no inherent hypnotism in any of the riffs. What I’ve always admired about black metal is its ability to play a riff for an ungodly amount of time and not get boring (fellow countryman Wrath of Dodsferd does this incredibly well). Naer Mataron fidget with riff after riff, none of which are terribly infectious, all of which are smoldered by a flat production. “Sun Wheel” is arguably the star track on the CD because it shuts down the blasting drums for some militaristic snare rolls and hollow growls, all behind a hellish riff with just the right amount of melody.
Of note is Vicotnik’s debut Naer Mataron performance on vocals, aided by a vocoder and dual layering. I have always been a fan of his work in Dødheimsgard, and without undue sucking of his testicles, he clearly makes the CD at least tolerable for a little while. The snaps and snarls he belts definitely accent the no-frills approach to songwriting, and while he’s no Mortuus or Attila, he holds his own. Still, Praetorians isn’t an album I see myself going to the trouble to throw in my CD player all that often. All that venom these guys had on Discipline Manifesto seems to have petered out into no more than a black metal bee sting.
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