Rapidfire Reviews: Lorna Shore, Mutoid Man, & Adrenaline Mob

lorna shoreLorna Shore – Maleficium

[03/18/14]
[Density Records]

We often get so distracted by the banalities of a few major acts within a genre that we wind up forgetting that it has its own merits worth perusing as a listener. As easy as it is to throw the entirety of deathcore under the bus, there is an entire wave of acts pushing no-bullshit deathcore that aren’t completely devoid of intelligence. New Jersey’s Lorna Shore are one such band of up-and-comers finding themselves in an arena occupied by the likes of Thy Art Is Murder and Fit For An Autopsy, where songwriting is an asset instead of a mere formality. The group’s second EP, Maleficium, hints at a multi-faceted sound for the band to expand upon for a future full-length; between the staggered, trudging breakdowns and tech-minded riffs and tastefully vibrant solos, blackened discord and brief swathes of keyboards season above-the-par deathcore in such a way that defies initial expectations. There are subtleties at play here that show Lorna Shore as being separate from the restrictive excess we’ve grown accustomed to. We’re not exactly talking boundary-pushing progressive stuff here — or even the emerging symphonic deathcore style spearheaded by the likes of Lorelei and Ovid’s Withering — but these elements coalesce to make Maleficium a dextrous effort and a satisfying listen. They’ve still got a ways to go, as the breakdowns across Maleficium are often destructive of the record’s momentum, but they’ll surely be a force to reckon with in their genre once they further hone their craft. – JR

3/5

mutoid manMutoid Man – Helium Head

[11/22/13]
[Magic Bullet Records]

Yes, this not a very “timely” review, seeing as this album came out in November of last year, but no matter; this album deserves to be heard a million times — it is that good. Mutoid Man is a side project featuring Stephen Brodsky of Cave-In and the imitable Ben Koller of Converge. If this sounds like a musical match-up made in heaven, well, that’s because it is. Helium Head marks the recording debut Mutoid Man, and boy, does it rip. First off, the album’s only 17 minutes long, which means it can be listened to three times in the amount of time it would take to listen to a regular full-length, and it is 17 minutes of pure rock fury (no Clutch pun intended). Every song on the album is less than three minutes, but Koller and Brodsky manage to take the listener on a psychedelic, rock n’ roll journey that is entirely too short. It’s hard to even put a finger down on what kind of crazy mash-up between metal and hardcore Brodsky and Koller are playing on Helium Head, but regardless of what it is, it’s fantastic all the way through. Brodsky hearkens back to the early Cave-In days as he bounces back and forth between screaming and singing, and as expected, Koller abso-friggin’-lutely tears it up behind the kit. There are so many great riffs throughout, and the raw production is very suiting for the album. The amount of dynamics these Boston metal-scene legends are able to cram into such short songs is staggering, and this project is a testament to the musicianship and songwriting abilities each of them display in their respective bands. I honestly don’t know why you’re still reading this review; go listen to this album and see what all the fuss is about. – AL

4.5/5

 

adrenaline-mob-_-men-of-honorAdrenaline Mob – Men of Honor

[02/18/14]
[Century Media Records]

Some albums just make you ask “why?” as in “why would men of obvious talent spend their time making this?” Men of Honor by Adrenaline Mob is one of those albums. One should always lower expectations when approaching super groups, as they are often merely excuses for worshiping a certain genre, but even the lowest of standards could do no justice to this album. The premise behind Men of Honor can be summed up as “the 80’s were great for heavy rock and it’s a shame they’re not around anymore.” The album is littered with sticky rock ballads whose music is only overshadowed by their stock names; songs like ‘Behind These Eyes’ or ‘Fallin’ to Pieces’ present the worst of supposedly emotional rock, replete with acoustic guitars, tearful vocals and poignant lyrics.

The rest of the album is your run of the mill feel-good heavy rock; the guitars go at gallop speed when they don’t shred, the drums churn, and the bass is loud. When listening to the whole album at once, all the songs blur into one fifty minute long track straight from a Kiss demo tape or a Whitesnake tour bus. That’s not to say that nothing on this album is enjoyable: at the end of the day, we’re still talking about some of the biggest names in rock or metal history. But even then, well performed cliches are only that: a loose collection of tired lines, barely held together by the undeniable talent of the people performing them. – EK

1.5/5

 

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