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A Pile Up of Slams - 80%

Akerfeldt_Fanboi, June 20th, 2012

Short Bus Pile Up is totally honest about what they stand for: slams. This band quite literally shows itself as a slam band in the first song with the totally killer and groovy "Ball-Peen Beating" before setting out on a musical journey bound to take you about three feet in the musical world.

Well, that sounds awfully negative now doesn't it?

SBPU plays a pretty generic branch of brutal death metal with strong songwriting backbones that have a penchant for relying on the groovy breakdowns and slams. But, that is where their strong suit lies because every standard riff they play in between slams is obviously a lead up to said slam. And that is where the band fails first; the variety. They have absolutely none and rely entirely on the same song structures.

But, Jesus do those slams rule. Just listen to the title track! This band also pulls off a smart thing and places the exciting tracks throughout the album rather than weighing down one side of the disc or the other. On one end we have "Urethral Myiasis" and the other is the title track with several fantastic grinding tunes in between. Well-placed song order is always a bonus to me, as it means I can actually get through listening to a full brutal death metal album.

Now, the instruments. The guitar is what you'd expect and instantly hear: detuned chugging, tremolo, occasional pinch harmonics, and pretty much nothing else. But, it performs its duty admirably and chugs out those slams like they're nothing and keep the temperature high enough to get a rouse out of you. The drums are literally the best part of this album, because that snare sound is only achievable by gods among men, and this sound is certainly one of those. That incredibly loud high snap is fundamental to the sound of SBPU and plays a pivotal role in creating worthwhile slams.

Vocals are there. They perform and keep the songs from being straight slams for minutes on end, but they're remarkably average and only go to show the unfortunate state of metal vocals at the moment. Half the time the slams sound contests between the guitarist and vocalist to see who can belch loudest.

Pros:

- Slams are fantastic
- Snare sound is out of this world
- Song order

Cons:

- Songs are predictable
- Slams are everywhere
- Guitar is relatively boring
- Song structures are riff/slam/riff2/slam for the whole album
- Vocals are generic and sterile

Overall, despite the heaping of cons here, the album is enjoyable if average. Take the slams where you can get them though and support this band.