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Slam One Down - 78%

astathica, April 27th, 2016

I'm not going to lie, I only came across this album during my current favourite free time game: install Chrome MA plugin, open Spotify, browse through the "random band" pages and listen to whatever is available on Spotify. Aside from learning about a good few new genres and a load of bands, you come across some real nice things you'd normally not have discovered. This one of those.

After the intro, which is actually pretty sinister-sounding for what is essentially a rather monotonous grocery shopping list, the first real track kicks off and immediately the love for Machine Head is almost tangible and the track opening really is reminiscent of the start of Burn My Eyes' "Davidian". There's a good splash of powerballs southern-style Pantera-esque influences here too, and some other hardcore tropes are used well (those shouty choirs in Last Man for instance, and the tough-guy lyrics on Payback amongst others). The tracks follow each other quickly and differ just enough to keep you interested, whilst the acoustic intro to Cut Me Down and even moreso Hell Doesn't Want Me and About Me shows why the vocalist should stick to his throaty shouts and grunts, rather than trying to pretty things up with clean vocals - don't get me wrong, this is something that for me doesn't work with their two most obvious influences either, so it could just be a gripe I have personally. It's just not executed well, and sort of misplaced. This is especially noticeable on About Me, where the intro cuts off abruptly and the "real" track kicks off, which is nothing short of one of being an epic of some proportions, and amongst the best on the album. Such a juxtaposition.

The riffing is pretty solid, nothing original but at least it's played really nicely tight, which is really the only option when wanting to succeed in this genre. Especially the bass sound is, when audible, really a nice touch. The guitar solos aren't of as high a quality, but they're functional and sparse. Sadly the drum sound isn't really my cup of tea, especially the snare drum is really brickwalled into a generic snare sample sound whilst the kick loses all impact because of the loss of dynamic range - this becomes very apparent in the cleaner parts and intros. Because of this, the drums are starting to drag the album down a bit along the way, over the course of the 57 minutes this album extends to. Luckily the production keeps up for the most part, with the sound thick and yet quite transparent.

Despite the (over)production issues here and there, and minor mishaps in songwriting the entire album is actually quite recommendable. Tracks like the opener What I've Done and the title track really show what this band can do, and they can groove as well as thrash. The musicianship is actually really good - I'm still sad that the obviously gifted drummer didn't receive a better production - and there's tons of fun riffing and great ideas in here. If they work on ironing out those few bugs, the follow-up to this can be the actual ticket to (bigger) success. This really isn't different in terms of quality to what Roadrunner has released in their biggest days, and that's saying something.

Get this if you're into: bands like Machine Head, Pantera, Skinlab, and the borderline between metalcore & hardcore
Don't get this if you dislike: breakdowns, tough guy lyrics, beer jokes, and any of the above

Who Really Wants To Live Forever - 75%

todesengel89, December 6th, 2012

In this day and age where being really innovative in terms of music has become really difficult, one method taken by bands to catch the attention of music-lovers is in the packaging of their releases, and Slam One Down certainly takes the cake for this. Along with the music CD for their debut full length album Who Really Wants to Live Forever, the band has included things such as bracelets, stickers and even flavoured condoms in the package, and this easily takes the cake in being one of the most exciting releases that I have received to date. But packaging aside, will the music of Who Really Wants to Live Forever be able to match up with the effort that the band has put into the aesthetics?

The band’s fun-loving attitude is immediately presented to the listener with the opening track The Acoustic Beer Run, an acoustic with tribal drums beneath chants of “B, double E, double R-U-N” and one immediately has some clue to what the band has put in place in the upcoming music. Yet the band suddenly turns all serious with What I’ve Done, and the band proves that despite the fun-infused image that has been presented so far, they are capable of putting out some quality thrash/groove metal. The riffs that are on the record are often crushing, and along with the screaming vocals of Bobby, one is easily reminded of bands such as Exodus with Rob Dukes, with the musical style being rather similar, though as the album progresses it would be obvious that the band has included some elements of metalcore into their music as well. This especially so with the numerous breakdown segments that are on the album like on Music, Money and Girls, and these are some of the small peeves, though with the overall high quality thrash, the band more than makes up for that.

The album is not without variation also. Living up to their name, Slam One Down‘s epitome of fun on the record is on Beer Run, the full-on electric version of the opener The Acoustic Beer Run, and the martial style of chanting and percussions remind listeners how seriously Slam One Down take their beer and their fun. Furthermore, songs like Pour One Out are also catchy as hell, complete with anthemic choruses that would easily have the listener headbanging/singing along with the band, and Music, Money and Girls reminds one of the reasons so many bands have gotten into the music industry. There is even the ballad-y moment on the intro of Cut Me Down (Psycho Party) and Hell Doesn’t Want Me, displaying the more melodic and hard rock side of the band, along with the singing abilities of vocalist Bobby.

To be honest, if not for the songs about beer and the band’s moniker, one would easily classify Slam One Down‘s Who Really Wants to Live Forever along with some of the angriest recent thrash metal releases. But with the combination of moments of seriousness and fun, the band has reminded the listener that one doesn’t always have to be overly angry and serious to create good music.