Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hackneyed - Death Prevails


Have you ever listened to death metal? You have? Good. Now, have you listened to the trendy myspace brand of death metal? You have? Great, this means that you know exactly how Hackneyed's debut, Death Prevails sounds. I complain about mediocrity an awful lot in my reviews, but I don't believe that originality is a must-have. I believe that if you can pull of an established style with conviction, passion, and solid songwriting, you can get away with adding nothing new. These Germans do not pull of -corish death metal with any flair or conviction.

First off, I'd like to point out that the blast beats that show up here and there are the most annoying sounding blasts I've ever heard. The drums usually sound fine on the whole, but when the cacophonous maelstrom of a blast beat rears it's ugly head, the atrocious triggers really drill their way into your skull. Have you ever played shooting games at an arcade? Well, certain games use a plastic gun in where top half slides back every time you pull the trigger, in some frail attempt at realism. What this does is make a really annoying *clickity* noise. Not quite a straight click, but two in extremely rapid succession. Now imagine a line people wielding these plastic guns, all shooting them off in one after another really quickly.... now imagine that they're underwater, that's what the blast beats sound like. The main offender of this piss awful racket is Axe Splatter, but that's mainly because it's the first time it happens, therefore the first time you notice. It resurfaces in Neon Sun and Symphony of Death, and it almost always manages to ruin an otherwise halfway enjoyable section of music.

Make note that I described this as -corish death metal, not straight up deathcore. The music is predominately death metal nearly unmarred by the cliched breakdowns that saturate the bastard genre, so that earns it points straight away. The reason in earns the comparison is because of the vocalist. Almost all of the vocals are those low gurgles that many bands seem to rely on, and all the lyrics may as well be "booreee rayeee" over and over again. He'll go for the higher scream every now and then, but he doesn't switch as often as say... Black Dahlia Murder or something. What this should do is make it a little bit more unpredictable, and therefore a teensy bit more interesting to listen to, but it still manages to be as predictable as the sunrise. Not to mention, they sound really wispy and thin. What I mean is that it kind of sounds like he's just whispering really loudly into the microphone. This robs the vocals of intensity, which is something that is desperately needed to cover up the banality of the instrumentals. Almost the entire album is midpaced and groovy with very few sections to help break the monotony. Certain songs, namely Bone Grinder and Worlds Collide, are grating and almost unbearable to sit through due to the fact that the music just plods along with the unimaginative and uninspired belches. The reason Bone Grinder ranks as the worst song out of this crop of mediocrity is because it consists almost entirely of breakdowns. It's like the band wrote a boring record and remembered at the last minute that they won't garner any trendy retard fans without breakdowns, so they just threw them all into one track.

Overall, I'd say avoid this purely because you won't remember any of it. Nothing stands out except the complete Pantera worship intro of Worlds Collide and those god awful blasts. I can't even remember any moments of the individual tracks, even after listening to this album several times in preparation for the review. I guess you'll find something great about Death Prevails if you enjoy both Fate of Norns era Amon Amarth and groovy slam style deathcore bands, otherwise you'll find a completely unmemorable and lukewarm death metal album here. The parts with the midpaced double bass and riffs that actually move along are enjoyable enough, but otherwise everything just plods. Nothing to see here... move along now, go pick up Arsis's debut or the new Torture Squad or something.

RATING - 37%

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