Monday, February 20, 2012

Slaughterbox - The Ubiquity of Subjugation

Slaugherbox has been around for a long time considering that they just released their first album only a couple of months ago. I remember seeing them live in California in 2009 at the HUGE California Deathfest. But the weird thing is, they’ve never been inactive since the release of their first demo in 2007. Honestly, I almost completely forgot about them until Amputated Vein Records announced that they had just signed on Slaughterbox and that they will be releasing a new album pretty soon. I was fucking psyched when I saw this because I’ve grown horribly sick of the two promo demo CDs that I have by Slaughterbox (and believe me, they’re amazing). Here’s the thing that make me go “what the hell?” when Amputated Vein put up the title track on their website, LISTEN TO THE DRUMS MAN! I remember that their drummer was REALLY fast (like Fleshgod, Rings of Saturn, The Faceless…that kind of fast), but I have no recollection of THIS! When I looked them up on YouTube, everyone was saying DRUM MACHINE, but when I got the CD in the mail, it just said “drums”. So honestly, I don’t really give a crap because it sounds awesome. And there are several bands out there that do things in the studio that aren’t reproducible on stage; I just call them “studio artists”.

So I’m not going to go into a big thing about the drummer other than that it sounds…FAST. But the funny thing is that the guitarist and bassist do a perfect job of keeping up with the drums! So anyway, this is the American technical death band Slaughterbox (that’s one of the coolest band names ever!).

The drummer is apparently the vocalist as well. And I am going to say that even though his vocals don’t bother me all that much, I can tell instantly that if he doesn’t stop doing those REALLY intense inhaled screams that he’s fucked. His throat isn’t going to last that long at all. I said that so that you don’t think that I’m encouraging him do keep doing it. But during the parts that are extremely intense and electrifying, those high-pitched squeals do none other than double (if not triple) the intensity. His pig squeals/growls are amazing though and I love them, he just seriously needs to stop the high squealing.

Another reason why this isn’t the best live band is because the guitarist does a lot of tracking (I don’t know if I said that right). In other words, he records over himself so that it sounds like there are two and sometimes three guitarists playing at the same time. So I’m glad that this isn’t a band that hasn’t done a whole lot of touring (especially so far after the release of this record) because it would be really disappointing. If they got a second guitarist, I would be more motivated to see them live.

Despite the flaws within the choices the band has made, the music is extremely creative and colorful. There is an excellent mix of brutality, speed, technicality, and even quite a bit of melodic elements that are layered on top of the music (not something I was expecting at all). The melodic elements work great at giving you some time to glue your face back together so that you can be at least somewhat prepared for the rest of the album. As well as that, I think they were trying to show that they had a wider range in musical creativity and style than most other brutal/tech death artists so that they could hopefully stick out from the crowd. And so far they have. This is an extremely enjoyable listen and would be something that I hope you don’t bash purely because the drums are most likely sped up in some parts, because you have to admit that it sounds cool. So for being the black sheep and being willing to take major risks, Slaughterbox yet again successfully earn my stamp of approval; earning my score of 17/20.