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Well it's Christmas Eve right now and for the past few years now I've been randomly putting on this EP just for the season greetings. What's not to love? It's Christmas flavored death metal with Jonathan Huber when he was just experiencing his hayday in extreme metal and with three covered Christmas songs, he and the rest of I Declare War show their humor and holiday spirit just in time for the winter season.
The EP opens up with a track that is just a sample from the South Park episode "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" before the first track "Carol of the Bells" comes in. This song is just some riffs in the melody before brutal slams and guttural vocals take the spotlight. The following track "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" is of the same formula, only with a bit more variation and at 2 minute length (which is in opposition to the previous song which was only at a minute length). The blast beats and dual breakdowns within this song make it the most worthwhile. Huber's growls (and one scream) shine the most here and not to mention the song initially opens up with all members of the band singing at once; definitely my favorite track off this very short release. Speaking of which, that very notation in that previous sentence (alas) seems to be the biggest problem on here: The EP is too short, the fun is short lasting with songs that range from just one to two minutes long and only two tracks on the whole EP use the entire band.
Huber is alone doing vocals to the final track "Jingle Bell Rock" while an instrumental sample of the song not even performed by the band is played behind him. While this may be funny as fuck to hear such extreme vocals placed amongst calm music, it hinders the idea or how much imagination the band could have had if they all had a part in this song since the two tracks before these were already of the same formula repeated twice, just in slightly different variation.
Overall the EP is great to put on just for shits in giggles in time for the holiday season, but I think the band may have had a strict time restraint during its recording due to its really short play time. This EP could have been so much better, but it's better than nothing. Many bands in their genre are usually way too serious to venture near an idea of this sort. Props to extreme Christmas music.
Well, at my time of posting this review online, it'll only be three days till Christmas. And since I've been reviewing more albums lately than I ever have before, I said to myself, why not review a Christmas-themed one to get in the spirit? And although I hate the band who created this album, the only Christmas-themed album I'm aware of is I Declare War's 2007 half-assed demo of three Christmas covers, saccharinely titled Bring the Season. I'm honestly surprised this demo hasn't been reviewed by someone yet. Now, normally I hate I Declare War and everything their "people hate deathcore, so let's just add some grunts to it to make it worthwhile" ideology stands for, but I genuinely like most of the material on this six-minute release.
In typical I Declare War fashion, the vocals mostly focus on pseudo-brutal death metal grunts and brees. I abhor both of these (not in general, but this band's usage of them), but in the first two songs (excluding the rather pointless intro) on this release they work quite well, if only for the satire of the compositions. I do, however, love the sound of the vocalist's normal growls; there's something about his voice that makes them sound a lot more forceful than they would normally be. And for the first time ever, I heard this vocalist utter a scream, at 1:29 in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". It may have just been because it was double-tracked with the growls, but it sounded pretty demonic, like a shrill, raspy black metal shriek. I wish there were more of them on this release, as they'd bring up a bit of the monotony from all the "urghs" and "brees". Most of the guitar material is a sustained note turned into a slam by a blasting double-bass underneath, but it's not completely terrible because, once again, the satire of the whole thing covers up whatever flaws these songs would have as non-Christmas tunes. Slams and breakdowns aside, there is one part of this demo that is genuinely very melodically beautiful, and that is the first 50 seconds of "Carol of the Bells". No vocals to fuck up the experience, just beautiful brutality. My favorite song here is still probably "Rudolph...", though, because although the actual song is mostly mindless slams, it's still very funny to listen to.
So what exactly is wrong with this release that's keeping it from getting a score in the upper 80s or so? Three words: "Jingle Bell Rock". This was one of the poorest of choices that they could have possibly made to cover. Or maybe they're just stupid. Either way, the problem here is that there is not distortion or amplification to the guitar at all. When you've got a vocalist who's shouting at the top of his lungs, that's not going to work. The juxtaposition in the other two songs was funny; in this one, it's fucking irritating. Can you imagine an acoustic guitar covering a man breeing out lines you can't understand? That's pretty much what it is.
Overall, this is a good demo for laughs and parody, but musically it doesn't have much going for it. Were this a regular demo with songs that were original compositions and not covers of Christmas songs, it would probably get a score of 30 or so. So more than half of the points this demo gets is because of the humor I find in the unexpected satire of this demo. Get this demo if you're in the mood for something that will give you a few laughs or so. Now to all of you: Christians, atheists, Satanists, Deists, agnostics, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Scientologists, whatever the hell you are: Merry fucking Christmas. Don't be naughty, or you'll get The Unspoken King and Perverse Recollections of a Necromangler in your stockings.