We all know the syndrome: old band with a recognized name pops up, and we think, their old stuff was good; it’s great they’re back!
What they’re thinking is that they don’t want to go back to working at Target, so here’s a chance to cash in on the old name. They no longer hope to get big, but now, they just want six months or a year of something more interesting, and they’re going to use you toward that end.
Of course, they’ve forgotten that even though most of the metal audience are dunces at this point, the rise of MP3s means that we can hear the stuff in advance, and pitch it in the bin for being junk. So their comebacks fail.
Pestilence – Resurrection Macabre
Did you ever wonder what would happen if you streamlined the dry production of PESTILENCE’s Testimony of the Ancients to meet modern standards, and kicked around substandard versions of some of the band’s backcatalog riffs into mind-numbing ABABCAB cut-and-paste architecture? What if the illiterate jazz was jammed in every song in the form of the guitar solo? Nary a song passes without hammering the one- or two-word song title home as chorus in some manner; the bafflingly sophomoric lyricism is merely occasionally deferred. Just another testament to the pervasive laziness of this entire affair, and revealing of the pathetic scheme they are implementing in trying to sucker in the most ancient of the longtime fans. Without that motive, it is nearly incomprehensible that a band would return from a giant sabbatical to cobble together this rubbish.
Absu – Absu
There’s no polite way to say this but: this CD sounds like everything else out now. A whole lot of power metal riffs, a few death metal structures, and some melodic parts borrowed from the new wave of Swedish black and death metal bands. What does it add up to? Randomness. No one cares except the kids who’ve invested themselves in being metalheads and so pretend to like this stuff. For serious listeners, this is a waste of good musicians on disorganized, repetitive, obvious material.
Suffocation – Suffocation
Yeah, this is an oldie. I mention it not because it’s incompetent. It barely changed styles, and all the rules are still followed. It just has no soul. It’s a hollow album that you can listen to for several weeks, then wake up and think, if it left my life, would I care? And then you realize that if Pierced from Within left your life, you’d shit bricks. It’s in the “A- and why bother” category, which is sad given the vast potential of this band. I think after the style they invented got appropriated by Cannibal Corpse, who took it to vast popularity, they got bitter and have been trying for revenge by success ever since. Doesn’t work that way.
Seance – Awakening of the Gods
This is every bit as painful as the Pestilence, but less cynical. I think they tried to figure out what The Kids Today like, and so made a product, but it ends up being unsubstantial, yet not catchy enough for the kids who are buying the real idiot fodder. So they’ve both alienated their own audience and failed to gain the big-time audience, which makes this album an uber-fail. Banging drums and super-loud distortion run around my head in circles, riffs are made like Soulfly without the bounce, and the whole thing is a grab-bag of influences and half-finished ideas. Next, please.
Lots more death metal bands are up on the block. If they didn’t have the presence of mind to keep going after the 1990s metal boom, they’re probably not going to fit today’s audience, which means that if they’re writing an album, they should simply target the old schoolers and do what they do best instead of trying to fit in. Also, they should know that any self-reference title, or reference to resurrection, rebirth, awakening, etc. means the album will blow ass because they are thinking of nothing but themselves. I expect none of them will figure that out.
The best metal albums continue to be those composed by intelligent, thoughtful, realistic people who make music that they think they would enjoy. Not surprisingly, other people of the same inclination also enjoy it; it gets lost in the flood of music for drones, like emo, nu-black/hardcore/shoegaze, carnival music, bad heavy metal, and other stupefactive nonsense.