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I don't usually spend much time exploring the local metal scene. Or should I say, "scene." Indianapolis, Indiana is not a huge hub of any kind of meaningful extremity. We like to eat, to watch some televised sports, to visit the state fair, etc.; we don't like to bang our heads against the stage, or against anything else really. Local music heroes include Margot & the Nuclear So-and-so's (they sound about as irritating and fussy as you'd expect), The Common (basic poppy/punky rock stuff), and of course John Cougar Mellencamp, whose radial influence reverberates gently through the plethora of local meat-and-potatoes rock acts.
But recently an acquaintance from another country proposed an exchange of local color, which got me thinking: do we have any decent metal bands around here? Which - after lots and lots of internet sleuthing - is how I sort of randomly found out about Summon the Destroyer.
Not a lot on this EP will surprise you, unless you've never heard US death metal. Many of the usual influences are in this thick stew: a dollop of Suffocation, a spoonful of Immolation, a pinch of Morbid Angel (especially latter-day, "Gateways"-era Morbid Angel), and so forth. But Summon the Destroyer does a good job with a formula fairly tried-and-true. They don't get overly brutal or technical; they just bring the goods in a pleasing mix of old school and new. Production is clear and heavy without being overdone - I am especially pleased with the solid, naturalistic drum sound (please, boys: keep resisting the urge to go all clicky and over-triggered, no matter what your peers are doing!). Riffage is good and the guitar tone is very complementary to it. Bass is in the mix without ever really coming to the forefront. Vocals are a standard, good growl with plenty of force. The songwriting throughout the EP is a strength without going down any particularly complicated pathways - instead the band relies on memorable, semi-melodic riffs and good if basic structures to create songs you'll know well within a couple of listens. Everything is brutal without getting stupidly brooootal, if you get my meaning; at the same time, you'll find plenty for your brain to latch on to and your head to bang to even from the first listen.
Summon the Destroyer is a band that could easily be on a mid-sized label - I'd compare them favorably to, say, Insision, who are one of the most reliable active bands in death metal. Given some time to develop, I think these guys will be doing excellent work. For now, I will settle for the merely "very good" effort found here.