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Seeing as my most trustworthy sources for metal have dropped plenty of hints towards the height of quality found throughout this band's discography, I decided it was about time I shook off my preconcieved notions and give it a listen. As I was browsing through their catalouge, I noticed the familiar cover art of their debut release, Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing, which just happened to be re-released that past month. I picked up a copy, hurried to the counter and popped it in my stereo, and was floored instantly by the aural armaggedon earfucking me senseless.
To put it simply, this album fucking sucks. The worst part is, I vowed to review this on request, so, not wanting to be a pansy and back out, I sat through every soul draining second of it. I'm gonna be outright: if I was less of a man, I would have bawled. As it was, I simply sobbed. As soon as I pressed play and the industrial sampling of S.Y.L. reeled in, I felt my hope for these guys begin to waiver and my lips begin to glisten with the words "lame" and an elongated "gay". About three songs in, it dawned on me that I wasn't just failing to "get into" the band's sound, but it was pissing me the fuck off.
It's not the schematics that bother me, as nothing could be further from the truth. Really, the humor and approach was very appealing to me at first glance, and I still find Devin Townshend to be a likeable lyricist and a competent performer. Ultimately though, it's not the blueprints that matter, it's the execution.
Throughout the 50 agonizing minutes, I failed to hear anything remotely "death" or "thrash" about this release. What I do hear is directionless, chugging aggro-metal combined with the industrial distortion and quirks of early Fear Factory with cheesy, sweeping melodic choruses and a post-thrash songwriting style. Everything from the subpar drumming, teeth grating sound mix, pointless industrial interludes, and the wasted vocal prowess annoy to the bitter end. The only redeeming factors about this release are Devin Townshend's solid vocal patterns and his ridiculously over the top lyricism.
I can't compare this to their other work, as I really have no interest in hearing it, but if it's even remotely like this... yuck. Just an underrated album by an overrated band. It's rare that I have trouble sitting through a release for a reason other than boredom or cheesiness, but this is simply the most annoying album I've listened to in a long time. Boy, do I have some reconstituting to do...