Rumors And Reputations
02. Bedroom Eyes
04. Rumors And Reputations
06. Traits Of The Abnormal
07. The Fisherman’s Friend
09. Brick X Brick
10. Stone Eater
11. Claws And Chemicals
13. Castles In The Sky
Unless you’ve missed our past coverage, Mureau are a Californian groove metal band. Nowadays, when you say ‘groove metal’ most people think about djent, but these guys are a proper groove/post-hardcore band. They’re not interested in showing off their polyrhythms or ambiance; they want to have some straight-up fun with a distinct West Coast sound, and to be honest, it works really well, especially for a new band on their first album. Every song is memorable and super groovy, forcing you to do the head bob constantly. Admittedly, this isn’t the most sophisticated album ever, but with most of the bands in the scene either trying to be more hardcore or more technical, it’s a surprisingly fresh breath of air.
The first track “California” is a good indication of what this album sounds like on the whole. Admittedly, it makes Mureau sound more like a scene band because of the clean vocals that sound like I Set My Friends On Fire, but if you listen to the rest of the album the clean vocals turn out to be surprisingly powerful at times. “Bedroom Eyes” would be a better representation of the band’s sound with its insanely groovy riffs. Some songs are exclusively screamed, but most of them are a halfway mixture with clean singing, and there is the occasional song where it’s mostly clean, like “Intruders“.
There are tracks where they go quite heavy, such as title track “Rumors And Reputations“, but it’s never done too much, the grooves or the sing-along choruses are the focus here. Younger listeners would definitely enjoy this album more than older ones, but that’s fine; it would at least keep them from listening to certain other bands that wouldn’t have existed in a better parallel universe. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s even the odd guitar solo here and there; “Brick X Brick“, one of the heavier and more djent-oriented tracks, has a short but great solo.
The production is decent, it’s good enough that there isn’t anything to pick apart about it. But here’s my main complaint: there’s way too much post-hardcore-y chorus and way too little groove. These guys are clearly very talented at writing insanely groovy riffs; and while the slow melodic sections aren’t bad, they’re nothing special. There are other bands that are better at doing that stuff, and Mureau clearly aren’t that great at it. Not only that, it slows down songs unnecessarily and makes them drag out. Relying less on those sections would also make the band taken more seriously, as per the “for younger people” comment I made above.
Overall, this is a decent album that unfortunately has a few flaws. It’s pretty good for a new band’s debut record, and there are some great things going on in it, but it lacks focus. Fortunately, what it does wrong, it does less wrong than most bands, as they don’t fall into the trappings of ‘scene’ music. If you like intense grooves and sing-along choruses, check this one out.
Mureau’s Rumors And Reputations gets…