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A puzzle made of turds. - 6%

Stillborn Machine, July 27th, 2016

Death metal is among the most versatile of the metal genres in terms of compositional approaches, subgenres, regional styles, and alternate stylistic takes. Even as far back as 1991 it was beginning to splinter off into innumerable different directions, further distancing itself from its primitive roots (most of the time anyways) and this hasn’t changed much today. Diversity is after all the spice of life… although sometimes said spice tends to be sprinkled onto a spoiled dish. Make no mistake, Fisthammer are a very “diverse” band but this isn’t the kind of stylistic colourfulness that we need in death metal. Not because of the many disparate elements it brings together and moreso because it makes all the wrong choices in weaponry and doesn’t do the best job of piecing them together.

To best describe their style, think of a grab bag of major trends within metal from 1995 onwards but slapped onto death metal. Shake the bag, dig in, and you’ll have a chug-chug-widdle-widdle post-Gothenbourg-melodeath riff in one hand. Dig in the next time and a cadenced fist-pumping chant meant to “rile up the crowd”. Oh, what’s this particularly stinky one over here? Ah, sweep picked solos over semi-breakdown rhythms. Don’t forget the semi-metalcore mic-cupped screams and out of place black metal style open tremolo strumming! Oh, not au-courant enough for you? Have some dopey djent riffs so you can impress your morse-code-rhythm loving friends! Herein lies fatal flaw number one of Infallible; it is more or less composed of the lowest common denominator of “extreme” metal tropes that most of us stopped falling for after high school. They might be on a more cult and underground label that has some quality acts on it but this is something that belongs moreso on the playlists of the xdeathcorex crowd and the “Yngwie Malmsteen crossed with Cryptopsy” school of “technical” or if they’re arrogant enough, “progressive” death metal. Attempting to put them into some vaguely “death metal” shaped framework only shows exactly why they don’t work.

This is because all of these tropes are at their core conflict with how to do (good) death metal. Rather than a consistent high intensity focused on vaguely poppy songwriting that consistently drops into “GET YOUR GROOVE ON!” style sections and then back into essentially dumbed down thrash/power/traditional metal riffing, the best death metal has been about crafting a story from multiple riffs of differing shapes, sizes, and intensity levels. Frequently they are re-arranged and recontextualized with modified tempo or execution and being used to segue into new ones, but none of this is present here. All you get are misguided and directionless bouncing between the worst parts of the metalcore/melodic death metal axis arranged to go from MAXIMUM INTENSITY to EVEN MORE MAXIMUM INTENSITY WITH STERILE OVERLY CLEAN PRODUCTION ON TOP OF IT! This wears out any real sense of dynamic or development as the band pulls out all the stops to make sure you’re beat over the head with this consistently. Even the primitive punk inspired acts from the classic era had better pacing than this.

Let’s be wide and clear here; this is without much merit and relevancy, even by the standards of by-the-numbers stereotypically bad modern death metal. These are tropes that should have died out when the metalcore/tech death bubble burst but here they are, dressed up for a new generation of oblivious bangers. It’s like watching a drug-addled and botox injected rock star whose rise to fame lasted maybe a few months trying his damndest to make it back into the limelight and simply failing in every conceivable way. Don’t embarrass yourself and don’t embarrass your friends. Assume this album doesn’t exist as an actual musical entity and is secretly some alien superweapon intended to see how many clueless fools can be sucked in to thinking this is somehow progressing the genre. Then you can laugh at it in a few years time for the utter failure it was.

Originally posted on The Metal Observer