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Methadol Rocks - 78%

Muloc7253, November 7th, 2007

This rocks! This is heavy metal that is still totally in touch with it's hard rock origins (although there is no 70s influence to speak of). The general approach tends to sound like mean, almost sleazy rock and roll, but pushed through the heavy metal dimension gate, giving way to an epic atmosphere, melodic leads and rough, powerful riffs.

Methadol have hell of a lot of attitude, and this is none more present than in the vocals of Manu Dal-Grande. Yes, the vocals are done by a female, but there's nothing shrill or operatic to be found here. Manu uses her powerful lungs to create a geunuine, attitude-filled atmosphere, which is at least to me the central point of the music. The leads and solos are epic and majestic, almost in a power metal sense (although this EP is a far cry from power metal), and this is is none more evident than in 'The Day of Your Death'. The rhythmic riffing beneath the verses and choruses is edgy and powerful, and the drums and bass are competent too (there's nothing pretensious or anything about this, so the drums and bass stick to their usual jobs, although the drums do have quite an interesting tone).

The songwriting here is what makes this stand out the most (aswell as the vocals of course). Methadol have such a great knack for writing catchy, attitude-filled songs...I keep going back to that word, attitude. It just sums up the EP so well. Whether that's what they were aiming for or not, that's what they accomplished. Every song on here is great, but my favourites are 'The Day of Your Death' (with it's beautiful intro, powerful chorus and excellent feel overall) and 'The F**** King', which is probably the most aggressive song on here, has a very epic chorus and some brilliant soloing towards the end.

Bittersweet up to the bone - 73%

oneyoudontknow, August 19th, 2007

Now I have the mess. I contacted this band several weeks ago and wanted them to crosscheck the data which I had added to the metal-archives and what do I get for this? They send me a signed CD together with an inlay and back cover. It is really nice to receive something like this, but what is a CD from a young band worth if it is not reviewed so that the word can be spread? Simple said: nothing. Now I have the mess and sit here, trying to write a review about a band from a genre I would not call a favourite of mine. A mixture of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal is what they play and what I am listening to is mostly Black Metal. The prerequisites could not have been better.

What phrases would picture their music properly? Quite melodic, a skilled female vocalist, the tracks have its own touch, with one exception not chart oriented, mostly mid-tempo with switches to faster/slower parts, yes all this does describe the music of Methadol quite adequately. Dark and depressing are the lyrics and circulating around the topic of relationship. The idea behind the opener Nightmare reminds me on the album Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos. In some respect some similarities exist in the style of the lyrics. They are interestingly written, yet without ever reaching the point of being annoying. Never is there too much cliché or the topic overstretched; it is kept at a level in which the listener is still willing to follow the band.

The voice of Manu gives Methadol an easy remembered facet, with her different vocal styles which range from a mere speaking to high pitched screaming. She shows that she has some potential in her voice and is able to reach even high tones. The idea to enrich the songs with multiple vocal layers works fine, but their usage at the end of the songs becomes predictable. Overall it is good to hear that the opera-style has not reached every part of the metal scene and hence not another female vocalist tries to copy Tarja or one of the other famous ones.

Some nice and catchy riffs offer the guitars and the band has done wisely by webbing breaks into their songs. Hence, never is a point reached in which the music gets boring or even bland. Those switches in tempo keep the tracks going and the last track of the demo foreshadows perhaps a bit of the path the band might take in the future. It has not only a good drive and atmosphere, but also combines the best of the elements Methadol has used so far. Unlike the other four tracks, its melody is quite catchy and the dark atmosphere has been left aside a bit. Also the drum/guitar interlude has been used in other tracks as well, but not in the extent like on this one. Despite the positive impression of the record, one small fact of the music is ‘annoying’. The play of the snare-drum is often too monotonous and simple structured and the slightly unbalanced production only fosters the negative impact this aspect has on the music. There is a good deal of improvement possible in this direction.

Even though the genre is not what I would generally listen to, Methadol’s music has some good deal of vibe and a gripping atmosphere. This sweet bitterness which can be felt through the entire album, is an essential part of their music and a quite enjoyable aspect, too. I am surprised by the quality and potential that seems to lie in the band. Perhaps my attitude towards young bands has shifted to the negative, because all the impressions I gained from the crap that is currently being released in the Black Metal underground, might have left its marks upon me. That is why I might overestimate this record a little bit. Looking back, the chances that I would have laid my hands on this record can be described as nil. Therefore I am glad and thankful that I had the opportunity to listen to some fresh music from a genre I generally hardly listen to. And now shoo, get their record!

Recommended: The F**** King, Nightmare

Stronger than it would seem - 75%

Noktorn, August 18th, 2007

Methadol is a French group that plays music straddling the line between hard rock and heavy metal. That sentence alone will determine the audience for the material on their debut self-titled EP. I personally see no problem with such blurred genre lines, and find the music here to be pretty enjoyable, all things considered, but those with less of a penchant towards rock music would likely disagree. But the metal-based construction of this rock music might just be enough to sway those who would immediately avoid such a fusion.

The music of this band is essentially rock music with heavy metal structure. Methadol crafts songs that are much more riff-based than your average rock track, and with a sort of instrumental viscerality that's uncommon in most examples of the genre as well. Leads are a cross between flamboyant hard rock and traditional heavy metal, which a high degree of melody and dramatic playing. The rest of the instruments are fairly standard rock fair, apart from the addition of double bass on the last two tracks of the EP; and yet, despite the nature of the beats, the somewhat more dramatic style of playing seems to heighten the feel of this as a heavy metal release. Vocals are exclusively clean with a pretty large range, but strangely enough for a rock-influenced form of music, do not overrun the instruments at all. In fact, the lengthy stretches of instrumental noodling seem to point to the vocals as a much more tertiary element than one would normally find.

Each of the five tracks is solid, but the best is probably closer 'The F**** King', with its amped up aggression in the form of crashing fills and well orchestrated gang vocals. The music is emotional without being cloyingly so, and manages to make up for the occasional errors in instrumentation (the individual band members fall out of time with each other a few times) with pure enthusiasm for the music. Apart from the timing errors, the instruments are all very well played as a whole. The only other central complaint apart from the timing errors are on the highest notes that Manu Dal-Grande reaches; while she can certainly reach them, they're definitely rather shrill and piercing, and serve to take one away from immersion in the compositions.

Apart form these issues, Methadol's debut EP is a strong piece of rock/heavy metal that will appeal to the traditionalists among us all, who yearn for the times when the lines between the two genres were not quite as distinct as they are now. A worthwhile EP.