Friday, December 4, 2009
Praeter Morte- Purifying The Oppressor
Release Type: CD, Full Length
Label: Last Resort Records
Genre: Melodic Death/Deathcore
With the explosion of the whole deathcore/metalcore scene over the past seven or so years, we've seen a slew of awful bands making their way into the mainstream and giving metal a new face which I'm sure a lot of us don't appreciate. Unfortnatly with the whole scene there are a handful of good bands that are just watering down At the Gates and mixing it with Sick of it All and Hatebreed. Case in point Long Island's Praeter Morte find themselves in an odd place, while at times they execute very good melodic death metal, and at other times fall prey to stereotypical and painfully uninspired moments with their music which has epitomized the reason people hold bands like Waking the Cadaver, Black Dahlia Murder, White Chapel, Suicide Silence and Killswitch Engage as metal's death knell.
Not being the biggest fan of this recent trend, there are a handful of great bands, some who prexisted the trend and got pushed into it (Darkest Hour) as well as others who were important innovators (The Red Chord's first album is one of the best post 2000 albums I've ever heard, and Despised Icon aren't half bad), but for the most part it all sounds the same to me.
I'm at odds with this cd as it portrays the band being very competent musicians, and at times excellent songwriters, but unfortunately they fall into cliches and live up to the repugnant stereotypes of the genre. The first track starts off excellently, showcasing catchy guitarwork with obvious nods to At the Gates as well as more than competent drumming and climatic breaks and developments, yet almost on que as I was enjoying myself comes a completely unnecessary breakdown which repeats ad nasum (hur hur hur). "I Remain" continues this perpetual cocktease as it starts with an excellent and attention grabbing riff and then shamefully delves into a two-step mosh section for absolutely no reason. Now I understand the gimmick, the reason, as when played live breakdowns are awesome, but to throw them around like Monopoly money gets rid of any climatic value. Strangely enough the track continues and employs another typical metalcore gimmick of clean guitar, but here it actually works and segways into a very enjoyable riff. The second track acts an exemplar of a very competent and talented band, for whatever reason, giving into stereotypes and gimmicks.
I think Praeter Morte really act as a microcosm for the whole scene as they have some awesome parts but hide it, almost as if they're embarrassed about it, between cliches to appease braindead fans or the market. "The Culling" is probably my favorite track although the breakdown acts in a funny manner as it's utterly pointless and annoying but then leads into an awesome section and a dope solo.
To se the record straight, I love breakdowns. Suffocation is my favorite death metal band, and one reason being their excellent use of rhythm, accenting and structure. Their breakdowns are flawless and never unwelcome, and just like Mike Smith's excellent blast beats, they're all used in moderation and never sicking. Even moreso, black metal with breakdowns is one of my favorite things (Nefastus Dies combines melodic death metal with black metal flawlessly and does this, Leviathan has a few, and I'm sure there's others) I like my death metal with breakdowns (Decapitated, Dying Fetus, Dismember, Devourment, Aborted, Blood Red Throne, etc) but all those bands know the proper use and in the case of Devourment it's an enjoyable gimmick done right, there's no melodic harmonized leads and clean sections to mar the slam.
At the end of the day Praeter Morte is a group of great musicians and talented artists playing beneath their ability. If they were to drop the gimmicks of the genre and focus more on stuff like the epic harmonized guitars in "S.S.P," the midpaced catchiness in the beginning of "To Those Left Behind" and or the tremolo riffing in "The Culling" but unfortunately there's way too many breakdowns, two-step sections, bad and misplaced inhale vocals and not to mention low quality artwork to make me want to come back to this.
I would be more lenient if the hidden track at the end of "Bodies on Sunrise" wasn't a cover from the awful Adult Swim show "Tim and Eric Awesome Show" ( I looked it up hoping it'd be some old nyhc song) but i guess in the end metalcore and shitty tv shows aimed at stoners accomplish the same thing, cheap temporal enjoyment with little reason to come back.
If White Chapel, Suicide Silence, Hatebreed, Black Dahlia Murder, etc etc is your thing then check this out, it'd be nice to see a smaller band like this reap the benefits rather then the Hot Topic mainstays like Suicide Silence. You can listen to their tracks on their myspace, as well as buy the cd from them, or you can buy the cd on iTunes I believe.