Salt The Wound
posted on 11/2009 By:
Salt the Wound’s second album Ares was conspicuously perched atop our reservation grid, for months, ignored, unwanted, and un-loved. My eyes passed over this title many times, but I was wracked with indecision: Should I take this lonely album and foster it with praise from the warmth of my heart? Or, shall I end the misery of this forsaken wretch of an album with the cold mercy of sharp words. In the end, Ares proved worthy of neither. Though incapable of moving me to sing its virtues to the heavens, neither was the album so contemptible that I should damn it to Hell’s ninth circle. What Salt the Wound has to offer is a workmanlike effort of serviceable metalcore.
The first few seconds of Ares's opening track “Mutations”, with its strummed chords and gang vocals, had me fooled into thinking that Salt the Wound was a real hardcore band. Alas, an At the Gates riff surfaces twenty seconds in, revealing the band’s true colors. In their favor, Salt the Wound's music is free of the genre’s worst attributes, lacking any emo-isms or rehashed Iron Maiden harmonies. Salt the wound, while not reaching Despised Icon levels of brutality, still maintain a punishing level of intensity throughout most of the record. When the band is not copping Slaughter of the Soul riffs, they hammer the listener with a cold, merciless, almost mechanical pounding that brings to mind Meshuggah or Fear Factory. The vocals are similarly harsh, delivered in a vicious black metal-esque shriek, backed up on occasion by a more traditional hardcore bellow. Unfortunately, Salt the Wound is lacking in the area of songcraft. The songs on Ares consist mostly of similar batches riffs strung together in various combinations, with little to differentiate one track from the next. Even when the band stretches out on the sixteen minute closing track “Take a Bow”, the result sounds like three or four of the preceding songs stuck together, with a repetitive coda tacked on to the end.
To their credit Salt the Wound have taken a less trendy approach to metalcore, playing with an earnest, hard hitting style devoid of cheap hooks. In the end, though, that is not enough to lift Salt the Wound above the scads of other bands in a genre that has long since reached its saturation point.
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