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Stifled potential - 56%

MikeyC, December 20th, 2015

Metal coming from central Australia isn’t exactly frequent, so to hear a death metal band from Alice Springs – a place known for its crime and unpleasantness – just makes sense. Miazma burst onto the scene with Bacteria of this Earth, a collection of death metal tracks that reach only subtle heights.

After the introduction track, “Manipulation” opens with a decidedly catchy riff section. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really continue as much as I would’ve liked. The song itself is not bad, but apart from the opening, it seems to fall a little short. The other tracks, regrettably, tend to follow this same suit. “No Greater Man Cares” introduces a great riff near its end, and you’re ready to get hammered by instruments, but it kind of half-asses it and doesn’t seem to go anywhere. The blast section in “Portal” also feels too slow, only for it to end and then get slower again, although I did like the opening riff here.

Vocals are probably the weak link here. It’s not quite a death growl, not quite a shriek, not quite a rasp. It’s difficult to pigeon-hole, and they’re not the best I’ve heard in the business. The next guy might not have a problem with them, and I can tell he’s talented in his delivery, but they simply just rub me the wrong way sometimes. Lyrically, the band is varied, although “Cadaver that Whore” feels immature. The instruments are better here. Guitars are full of riffs and there’s no shortage of ideas, but the execution needs some balls. Drumming works well in the context, and there’s distinction between the faster and slower sections. On paper, there’s nothing wrong here, but it all lacks momentum sometimes.

I think that, when all is said and done, the songs themselves are too plodding. There’s nothing wrong with mid-paced metal, and some bands are better off slower (Marduk), but I don’t feel that Bacteria of this Earth is firing on all cylinders here. The riffs aren’t duds, and I know they can bust out quality death metal like the big names, but it’s all too…meandering. Miazma are no slouches, and I can feel their potential in their music, but it purely hasn’t been reached here. Too often I’m praying that the music will unleash the shackles and just go hell-for-leather, only to be disappointed over and over. Bacteria of this Earth has its good moments, and there’s winning riffs, but a little more speed next time would create some much-needed volition.