Music Review: BECOMING SAINTS – Oh, The Suffering

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becoming saints oh the sufferingBECOMING SAINTS
Oh, The Suffering
Rottweiler Records
2016

So, there I was, December of 2016, getting ready to meet some friends for some Korean barbecue and taking in a showing of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Because it was my annual Lament of my Day of Birth (what you normals refer to as your “birthday”), I thought I’d treat myself to a newer release from the Rottweiler Records family, from a band called Becoming Saints. This was a band that looked promising: They were advertised as featuring a former member of one of my favorite modern death metal bands, Soul Embraced. And Rottweiler has proven themselves to be pretty consistent as far as extreme metal goes, so I bought the album Oh, The Suffering and loaded it up on my media player to give it a listen on the way to meeting the Exalted Geeks at the Korean barbecue place.

Okay, so first of all, I do want to point out that the claim of having a former Soul Embraced member is correct: that would be Jeff Bowe, who played bass on the Dead Alive release. Not exactly a long-time or founding member, but you can’t say they’re lying, either. Also, Oh, The Suffering is their second release, having an EP titled Let This Not Be The End Of Me released independently the year prior. Now, on to the music…

I have to say, right off the bat, that I really wanted to like Oh, The Suffering. I was rather stoked by the description, and the album artwork seemed on target. Also, it was on Rottweiler Records, which has been fairly consistent with putting out the quality good stuff, as I mentioned earlier. But, after a few listens, I still couldn’t really get into the album as much as other reviewers seemed to have.

Mind you, lest you think I’m calling Oh, The Suffering garbage, I am not. I’m going to start with the positives, because I’m the type of guy who actually goes into reviewing albums wanting to like it and find something great about it. And, there are some bright spots on Oh, The Suffering: The production quality is excellent, and the music is pretty tight for what it is. Song-wise, there is a small handful of standout tracks that I liked, such as “Oath”, “Vox Mortem”, and “Unbroken”. The songs are not your typical deathcore type, as they really do try for something different and experimental, for which I give the band props for doing.

Unfortunately, though, I fear that it’s this very thing that makes it hard for me to really get into Oh, The Suffering. It’s kind of like they were going for a mix of Djent metalcore style mixed with the electronic indie rock that’s been prevalent recently with bands like Imagine Dragons. The result is like mixing clay with iron; you get a heavy yet basic variation of the Djent riff with breakdown beats and a shout-style vocals, then it suddenly shifts into the EBM indie rock with a rather mismatched melodic singing. It’s not exactly mixing genres, rather than abruptly shifting between two genres, back and forth. The aforementioned cuts that I did like stuck with a more straight-forward deathcore style.

There’s a couple of more ambient electronic instrumentals included: “Mother Teresa”, which features quotes from the famed nun, and “Deo Paso”. The album then ends with “Time”, more of a guitar-and-singing minimalist indie thing. And, I guess I would be remiss to not mention that Living Sacrifice’s Bruce Fitzbugh guests on the song “Lost”. Had no one told me, I wouldn’t have noticed.

So, overall, I’m afraid that I was rather underwhelmed with Oh, The Suffering. I get what they’re trying to go for, but there’s some work to be done. I actually do like the inclusion of electronics in the deathcore style, as War Of Ages have been employing it on the last couple of albums to good effect. I’m certain I’m in the minority, here, but I’m going to have to give Oh, The Suffering a soft pass for now. Maybe in the future I’ll dust this off and give it another look; but for now, I’mma move on to something else.

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Music Review: DEMON HUNTER – Live In Nashville

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demon hunter live in nashvillDEMON HUNTER
Live In Nashville
Solid State Records
2009

Something I’ve always wondered about Demon Hunter is, what are they like live? Mainly because, despite what you think of them, you have to admit that they have a rather layered and complex sound going than your standard metalcore / deathcore / NWOAHM style that you labeled them with. The vocal harmonies and melodies often made me wonder how they pull it off in a live setting. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to hit Omaha very often when they are on tour, and when they did I wasn’t exactly as big of a fan than I am now, so I didn’t go out to see them and discover how they are live for myself.

Fortunately, Solid State Records stopped ignoring my calls and letters, and released Live In Nashville. This is essentially the audio version of the live show filmed for the second DVD on the 45 Days documentary set that was released the year prior to this. This set was recorded at Rockettown in Nashville, during their Stronger Than Hell tour with Living Sacrifice. That sounded like an awesome show, that. I wish they would have recorded Living Sacrifice’s set as well. I also wish to one day ride a unicorn, but that’s probably not going to happen, either.

Here, they play cuts from their 2002 self-titled debut (“Infected”), 2004’s Summer Of Darkness (“My Heartstrings Come Undone” and “Not Ready To Die”), 2005’s The Triptych (“Ribcage”, “The Soldier’s Song”, “Undying”, and “The Flame that Guides Us Home/Not I”), and of course, the album they were touring for, 2007’s Storm The Gates Of Hell (“Storm The Gates Of Hell”, “Lead Us Home”, “I Am You”, “Carry Me Down”, “Fading Away”, “Follow The Wolves”, and “Sixteen”). After a nice atmospheric instrumental leading up to the famous “Dine in Hell!” clip from the movie 300, Demon Hunter rips into their set, sending everyone into a frenzy (I presume…it’s not like I can actually see them like I could on the DVD or anything, but in my head they’re all going berserk).

As far as how they handle playing their songs live…they do so admirably. Obviously, they don’t reproduce everything exactly like they do on the studio albums. Unless they were pulling a Top Of The Pops and “playing along” to a prerecorded track, that is. They sound live and raw, with no discernible overdubbing, keeping things organic with the execution. And that makes this rather fantastic as a live album.

So, there you go. If you love Demon Hunter, or even just like them, and haven’t had the chance to check them out live, Live In Nashville is the next best thing, while waiting for them to show up in your neck of the woods, methinks.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO – 4-8-2017

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APRIL 8, 2017

Not even having a massive head cold will stop Uncle NecRo from dispensing the Brutal Music Therapy!

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NECRO SHOCK RADIO – February 25, 2017

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FEBRUARY 25, 2017*

*- Yeah, it’s a day later than the date it was supposed to go on, but that’s the nature of the wifi here in the Therapy Asylum…anyway…

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NECRO SHOCK RADIO -February 18, 2017

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February 18, 2017

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NECRO SHOCK RADIO – February 11, 2017

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February 11, 2017

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NECRO SHOCK RADIO – February 4, 2017

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FEBRUARY 4th, 2017

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::END TRANSMISSION::

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