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When it comes to deathgrind, you know what you're getting into most of the time: ridiculously fast, intense, blast beat filled insanity that generally works a lot better in a live setting than it does on a record. Results, the first full length release by California's star studded Murder Construct, is exactly that, only with a few songs that stand out on their own and contain practically all of the replay value that the album has to offer. I have a feeling this will be one of my shorter reviews, as Results is not only quite short itself, clocking in at barely over 29 minutes, but it's just gonna be hard to describe in vivid detail what one will find on this album. It's not bad, not at all, but it's very samey on most songs, each containing mostly the same manic, chaotic feeling as the last one, getting old after only one or two spins.
While listening to this album, I didn't find myself overwhelmed at all by the music's craziness as I sometimes do from the more brutality based bands of death metal, nor did I find myself bored from mediocre songwriting, as the music is intense enough to keep me awake and attentive. Even though almost every song sounds practically identical, I'm able to recognize that the band was at least trying to make a good album, and I'll give them props for the songs having an identifiable structure, sometimes with the closest things to choruses possible in deathgrind in "Red All Over" and "Under the Weight of the Wood". They don't just shift out of the blue from one section to another as is common in some other bands I've talked about before, and the transitions between sections are fairly fluid. It just all sounds incredibly "been there, done that", like I've heard this style of music done dozens of times before by better bands. The three songs that break the mold and therefore mean more in the grand scheme of things are "Red All Over", with its slower opening and the aforementioned kind-of-chorus, "Compelled by Mediocrity", mostly for its rather funny lyrics that condemn the modern deathcore movement to death, and the closer "Resultados", the slowest, most melodic (for a deathgrind album), and easily the most musically varied and interesting tune to be found here. It starts off with the same high tempo blasting and tremolo picking as every other song does, but eventually it slows down and takes on a more "epic" feel, very similarly to some of the songs found on vocalist Travis Ryan's main band Cattle Decapitation's magnum opus Monolith of Inhumanity, ending with a mixture of piano and Middle Eastern percussion that wouldn't feel too out of place on a Nile record. Sadly, however, these three songs, great as they may be, are unable to make up for the rest of the songs, which are all very nondescript while not necessarily being poorly written.
I have a bone to pick with the mix on this album. It takes the Hate Eternal route of being really stupidly loud, and while I honestly don't mind it in music such as this since it's meant to add to the atmosphere the music is trying to create (unlike something like the instances on the new Black Sabbath album where it starts to audibly clip and it's really goddamn distracting), I do take issue with the drums and the vocals being quieter than the guitars. Usually in modern metal album production, the reverse is the common fault, but in the case of My Ears vs. Results, this album is charged with crimes against proper levels and it loses via unanimous decision. Both are still audible, but they're very obviously quieter than the guitars, which is a bit of an issue for me as Danny Walker and Travis Ryan are the most interesting guys on this record. Walker puts the blasting chops he made famous in Exhumed to good use, tirelessly beating the ever loving crap out of his kit with reckless abandon. Travis Ryan is Travis Ryan, puking and gurgling with his trademark voice, even at times lapsing into his "screaming-while-singing" voice that he unveiled in further detail on Monolith of Inhumanity. It might be considered more of a nitpick to someone who is both not a drummer and factors proper volume levels greatly into his or her opinion of a record as I do, but it just bugs the hell out of me that the two best elements of the music are much quieter than they should be. At least here, while quite loud, you can never hear the artificial distortion from overcompression (again, looking at you 13).
That's honestly about all one can say about an album like Results. Murder Construct obviously gave a shit, but the songs pretty much being identical in construction as well as the problems with the mix make this a record that will only keep your attention and interest for no more than three spins at the most. The three songs I mentioned as being a cut above the rest are just about the only reasons to come back to this album, and even then you can just listen to them on their own if you so desire. This really is music that would work much better in a live setting, where people aren't so much concerned with how well the songs are put together as they are about smashing into each other at high speeds and hanging from the ceiling by their legs (we've all seen that at smaller shows like this before, so don't say I'm exaggerating). Again, not badly put together at all, just very samey, and while that may be enough for some people to justify multiple listens, it quite simply isn't enough for me.
Murder Construct, a congregation of asshats from Exhumed and Cattle Decapitation, delivered their first full-length album in August of 2012. Entitled “Results”, this record clocks in at just over twenty-nine minutes, and mixes death metal influences with the (ostensibly) controlled chaos we’ve come to expect from grind music. Some call it grindcore, others call it deathgrind, and others still insist that such genres are unnecessary. I just call it awesome. When you include such talents as Travis Ryan’s vocals and Danny Walker’s drums, it’d be a crime for you to not sound good.
Something about “Results” that instantly caught my attention is that it really is a grind record at heart: the tracks are weaved together seamlessly, with the intent of pummeling you relentlessly, and they certainly do their job in that regard. It can be difficult to tell when one track ends and another begins, but for lovers of the genre, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. That kind of approach to songwriting can turn some people off, but the beauty of this particular record is that the tracks of “Results” have just as much individuality as they do seamless transitions. There’s something different about each song, to a noticeable point, and that’s why the dynamic worked out so well for Murder Construct.
Travis Ryan’s vocals are immediately recognisable, and he does a great job of directing the sound of “Results”. From a songwriting perspective, the other instruments are certainly more involved in structuring the album, but the vocals are far more noticeable. The production of “Results” catapults Ryan’s growls, gutturals, and screams straight to the forefront, and this helps each track maintain its own individuality. Much like his performances with Cattle Decapitation, Ryan’s growls are low, his gutturals are lower, and his high screeches are mixed with his low screams to create an absolutely powerful presence that commands your attention.
Danny Walker’s drumming style on “Results” is entirely focused around beating the ever-loving crap out of you, which is fine by me. His execution relies on a variety of blast beats, hat hits, snare hits, and fast-paced double-bass legwork. In other words, it’s your general death metal drumwork: it’s not too complex, nor does it need to be to serve as the backbone of the album’s sound. While not spectacular or incredibly unique, Walker’s drumwork is paramount for the album to blast on through at the obscene speeds it sometimes attains. Reinforcing the grind aesthetic was clearly at the top of his to-do list when he sat down to record “Results”.
The guitarplay of Leon del Müerte and Kevin Fetus (I’m sure that’s his real name) play a smooth middle ground between the grinding vocals and the high-octane drumming. These guitarists certainly don’t create a mindless “wall of noise”, but instead provide an interesting backdrop that is easily ignored in favour of the rest of the instrumentation. One of the failings of the producer was in that he didn’t think to propel the more impressive guitar riffs to the forefront of the sound: some of the guitarwork is truly entertaining, but becomes lost in the admittedly-enjoyable chaos that is “Results”. Another unfortunate victim of this pitfall was the basswork of Caleb Schneider. As dismaying as it is to say it, I can’t even tell how skillful (or generic) his fingerwork was – it’s entirely up in the air, thanks to the producer’s folly.
Despite the poor production standards for the guitars and the bass, what we can hear is tastefully-paced and works with the sole purpose of improving the flow of the album. A great example of such is in album closer “Resultados”, where the speedy riffs are important to the opening of the track. Though the guitarplay eventually slows down to account for the pacing of the other instruments, their contributions are important to the overall feel and progression of the track. To that end, Müerte and Fetus’ handiwork here varies quite maniacally between simple-but-quick notes and slow, grinding riffs. Whatever the case may be, it is guaranteed to be enjoyable, provided you can hear what they’re playing.
With a production that excels at grinding your face off, but fails to deliver the more complex hits directly to its listeners, “Results” is quite a few points away from perfect. Should that stop you from checking it out? Certainly not: I’ve just told you about the spectacular vocal work done by Travis Ryan, the battering and pummeling drumming courtesy of Danny Walker, and the excellent guitarplay by Leon del Müerte and Kevin Fetus. Caleb Schneider’s bass play could have used quite a few more shout-outs, as well, but in the end I can only discuss what I’m handed. If there is one thing that Murder Construct can learn from the release of “Results”, it’s this: a half-assed production job will be something they could certainly do without when they’re considering a new release. Their skill sets deserve much, much more than what they got.