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Repression > Animal Raw > Reviews > Tanuki
Repression - Animal Raw

Ja, Verdrängung - 56%

Tanuki, December 9th, 2017

On the surface, Animal Raw is an appropriately named lump of overcooked German speed metal with the budget of an inner city high school drama club reenactment of The Manchurian Candidate. Whether or not something truly special lies below the surface is at least partially up to you, the listener. Are you the type to look at your oldest pair of sneakers with nostalgia and pride of their longstanding duties? Or do you view them as a decrepit, foul-smelling dyad that would be replaced at the earliest convenience?

Tracks like 'Breakin' the Chains' and 'Highway Loose' don't have much to offer but a crude, muddy pragmatism consisting of a very narrow gamut of leads. Even the more ambitious dual guitar harmonies and bass leads are swiftly undermined by the all-encompassing filth of vocalist Gast. His gristly baritone seems competent enough at first; quite similar to Tank bombardier Algy Ward. But unlike in classics such as Filth Hounds of Hades, it's only a matter of time until the charm of Gast's half-octave range wears a bit thin.

'Defenseless' is a prime example. The power ballad's sappy melodrama would be bad enough without the completely incompatible snarls that deliver it. The most egregious example, however, is their cover of 'Radar Love'. You know the one, by Golden Earring? What should be the Dutch National Anthem? I'm amazed by how many people have no knowledge of the greatest driving song of all time (Honorable Mention: 'I Speed at Night'), so if you're one of them, I'll summarize: It's a steering-wheel thumping masterpiece that covers a deceptively vast vocal range that only becomes apparent when I attempt to sing along. It paces itself. It storms into raunchy and invigorating crescendos. It is the coolest damn song of all time, and it's everything that Repression isn't. While an exercise in bravery, Repression is simply too brigandly to pull it off.

Look at me, sounding like a rock snob all of a sudden. I'd like to stress that I like what Repression was going for throughout Animal Raw. I love some dirt and gristle in my speed metal, and one dubious cover is not enough for me to excommunicate the entire album. However, the majority of their dirt is derived from a pitiable budget and overly simplistic leads. At the risk of my speed metal cred, I found myself needing a little more than that. I need a little more substance and a little more texture. In other words, I need my speed metal to feel a little less repressed.