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Shit sandwich - 9%

Napero, November 28th, 2008

This album is crap. There's no getting around that.

Jim Martin probably got the recording contract for this abortion simply because of his association with Faith No More. While FNM's status as a metal band worthy of being included in the MA's ever-growing ranks is a regular piece of contest on the MA forum, their influence and certain stylistical features will most likely guarantee their spot here. Even if one of their bastard children is the fact that some of their ideas were simplified and used as fodder for the early nü-metal bands incubating in the pens of the laboratory of the Evil Professor of Bad Music, they have a deserved position here. Their music could be called an early experiment or perhaps an amalgam of a thousand things; whatever it is, shredding and complex riffing were never their forté. No, what little guitarwork there is on any of the Faith No More albums, is simplistic, rhythm-based, and almost percussionistic in character, and instead of driving the song, it just supports them and occupies a position of lesser importance than the bass.

Jim Martin was Faith No More's guitarist for more than a decade. His contribution in their music is an important one, but while Faith No More could be defined as many things, their most talented musicians were handling the drums and bass. Faith No more was based on songwriting, not on instrumental acrobatics, and this album is a victim of that heritage. Because Jim Martin kept doing what he was used to doing, using the sacred instrument known as the electric guitar as a simple percussion instrument instead of the most important piece of equipment in heavy metal.

The music here consists of the kind of riffs that add their cubical rhythm to the rhythmics found on Faith No More's albums, especially those on The Real Thing. Martin has kept the same rather simplistic style, and built his songs around that. Unfortunately, the essential phase of writing an actual song around the heavy-handed riffing was somehow forgotten. The songs, one after the other, follow the same formula: a couple of simple, rhythm-based riffs get recycled a few times in a row, switching between the riffs, and the vocals go in a sort of whiny way, disjointed from the rest. They have something vague to do with the riffs. The drums are there, almost as a bolt-on afterthought. There's probably a bass somewhere, but it's not really noticeable. The songs vary from faithnomorish attempts to practically punk, and there's a mandatory joke in the form of track 7, "Navigator", a song that wanders completely lost in the area between a teh funnay irish pub drinking song and a "Talk-Like-a-Pirate-Day" seaman tune. Even the predictable Faith No More cover, "Surprise! You're Dead!" sounds lackluster; it was the heaviest, most metal-based song on The Real Thing, and it's quite obviously the aiming point for the whole Milk and Blood. Martin has tried to recreate the guitar riff-based atmosphere eleven times here, and none of them is a successful emulation, not even the very song itself. There's no trace of the brilliant bass and drums found on the brightest moments of The Real Thing, none of the joyous plummet through the different individual songs. This album is the autistic little brother chained in the attic of the parents of The Real Thing, capable of doing the one thing it knows.

The final verdict here is a difficult one to announce. The riffing has the bare essentials to be called metal, but the songs lack everything else. There are no ideas, no flow, no joy. The whole album has been built around a handful of almost childishly simple riffs, and while it is an attempt at recreating the most aggressive tune on the best album by Faith No More, it simply falls flat.

Avoid. There's absolutely nothing to see here. Jim Martin would not have gotten a recording deal on the musical merit of this album, had it been a demo tape.