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Megatherian > 2012 Demo > Reviews
Megatherian - 2012 Demo

Megatherian - 2012 Demo - 85%

TexanCycoThrasher, September 15th, 2018

Nostalgia, my friends, is one hell of a drug. It’s always fun (or at times dreadfully depressing) to look back on things you were so heavily wrapped up on in the past. This is highly relevant for today’s review; Megatherian’s 2012 Demo.

When I was a wet behind the ears 17 year old from the sticks I met these college town degenerates, made quick friends with them over our mutual love of bands like Cynic and Atheist. I saw this band a couple times before I turned 18, saw them a few dozen more times in the next couple of years, and sat in on god knows how many hours of watching them practice. I saw songs from this demo begin and take shape as they were written, excitedly watching this demo become something tangible. When this demo was dropped in March of 2012 I was apart of the immediate echo chamber of friends who praised it. I spun it fairly consistently into the next year or so as I watched Megatherian continue to mutate and grow, twisting these songs and their others in their practices. Unfortunately, they only recorded twice after this session, one of which is the “I Really Need A Job” track and the other was a potential full length’s worth of material that they were ripped off on by a character I call, “The Skankin’ Squid”.

In writing this review, this is my first time hearing these tracks in a couple of years. In that time I’ve grown, my tastes have changed (I now know Mortician is good and save Vektor and maybe Power Trip there really hasn’t been a good retro thrash band ever). I still like Prog Metal, like actually might be an understatement but I digress. Megatherian’s style is quite the melting pot of styles. It’s very easy to see influences from Opeth and Cynic here and there. But there are other weird little oddities, the bits of post rock and black metal among other things peppered here and there. One of the oddest moments that sticks glaringly out is the second half of “Odyssey Infinite”. From the go the song is a wild, thinly held together, mess of influences, but the weird Middle-Eastern/Jazz jam section sort of just flies out of nowhere at you. It feels insanely close to the jam from “Order of the Triad” by Consider the Source (a band I know they were all avid fans of), but the fact that the section is book-ended by a wild tremolo riffed black metal section and a proggy, almost Pink Floyd section makes it feel bizarre. “Odyssey Infinite” by far the most, wildly inconsistent song from the demo, whereas the rest of the songs all have an idea and, relatively speaking, stick to that idea and style, this track bounces from style to style almost in a Mr. Bungle-esc fashion. Out of the four the final song, “Younglings”, remains my favorite. It is very clearly influenced from “Traced In Air” era Cynic, in this gentile, prog metal meets post rock style before exploding into the outro.

In the years since this came out my love for more raw styles of music has blossomed, leading me to be much less of a production snob than I was as a teen. I bring this up, because at the time this first came out that was one of the major complaints I had for the recording. Even today I feel the tracks feel a bit lean, everything is there and can be heard well enough, but its lacking an “omf” so to say. The rhythm section could be a bit denser I feel like is what I’m trying to put forth. Even with these gripes this sounds great. The growling vocals on this sound massive in comparison to the rest of the mix.

To this day it still astounds me how talented Megatherian was at this time, insanely complex and well written songs, that at times are a bit erratic. But for a demo this was really good. It’s sad to me that this is the main piece of music that the 4-piece left for the world, and that some of their better pieces of music went unrecorded. The single song recorded after this, “I Really Need A Job”, was fine but for some reason that song never really resonated as well with me as some of the songs on this. It’s been interesting seeing the directions the members have taken with this in the years since. It might be nostalgia clouding me here, but this demo still goes.

They Should Have Trimmed The Excess Fat - 47%

Thumbman, May 28th, 2013

The name Megatherian, which means an extinct elephant-sized ground sloth, is by far the best thing about this band. The hilariously bad band photos are a close second. This was recorded in their rehearsal space they call The Imagination Station (yes, this is a really geeky prog affair), and the production quality is certainly that typical of a demo. There is no real problem with instrumental skill, however. While everyone is proficient enough at their instruments, this really is all over the place. They seem to throw in prog clichés in randomly, completely disregarding the flow of the music. While most sections aren't all that awful in themselves, they often don't sound that great next to each other. This just doesn't sound all that cohesive.

The best part of this is when the band gets into a nice groove, a pretty sweet guitar line is laid down, a decent enough growl does it's thing - it's simple, but it works. But then some irritating side attraction always sprouts up. Be it some vaguely jazzy chords, a noodly bass line or some weird jolting guitar, these just prove more irritating than anything. The biggest problem with these dudes is that they throw in random tropes of the prog genre in (to what end? To prove you're a real prog band?) when it's just not necessary. It just makes for many unneeded sections and pointless self indulgence. This release is padded with clean sections, featuring rather dorky vocals. These are often nice enough, a subtle winding bass line, sparse chords, passable atmosphere - however, they rarely rise above nice territory. It's something we've all heard before done relatively well.

This really is the type of stuff that requires improved production. I know that the band is still in their demo phase, and I don't mean to be overly harsh with them, but I think that the rough production really drowns out a lot of what they're going for. Some of the more expansive passages do not meet their potential, and the production cheapens the experience. It really does feel quite thin at times. The production is by far the best in clean sections - the section with the bouncy bass line and restrained soloing on "Odyssey Infinite" is by far the coolest part of the demo.

There are some fairly cool ideas here, but they don't fit into a cohesive package. The composition is quite sloppy, as many sections come off as superfluous. The songwriting also isn't especially strong. These guys really need to cut out the fat and go for a leaner approach with less fucking around. The random bass wankery is particularly annoying. This could have been cool with better production and with much of the excess self indulgence cut out.