Downlord – Grind Trials – The Demos EP

downlord_120306_grindtrialsOverall sound and technical proficiency with your instrument used to simply be enough in a young and developing death metal/grind scene for a band to turn the heads of those of us who acted like ravenous metal infants… eager to learn more, and absorb every new sound that happened to be erupting from the underground. As the years have passed and our metal world continues to explode into an overpopulated mess of identity lacking redundancy, I personally need something so much more than a heavy sound, an amazing drum performance, or a screamer in the line-up that used to be in some scene sculpting bands. Downlord, featuring Dave Ingram on vocals (ex-Benediction and Bolt Thrower), is the latest victim in a long line of bands trying to capitalize on members former musical achievements to forward their new musical cause. “Grind Trials – The Demos EP” contains both of Downlord’s demos in an attempt to hold us over until their debut full-length for Open Grave Records surfaces sometime in 2007. Both demos suffer from lackluster production which normally wouldn’t bother me, but the production places far too much emphasis on a triggered drum kit (great personal drum performance though) and Ingram’s muddled screaming style which comes off as a definite departure from his sharp and very characteristic death yelling style as found on “Transcend the Rubicon” for example, among others. After careful listening, it still sounds like Dave, but perhaps he’s screaming with a sock in his mouth, or attempting to match the intensity of the music by pushing his vocal chords into a realm of pain that he simply cannot accommodate. “Intensity…” the perfect adjective that explains the music on display, but unfortunately, the tight and technically amazing drum performance cannot hide the fact that there simply aren’t any (or very few) riffs here that present enough interest, or memorable ideas to create an actual “song”. The songs just aren’t here; instead, we have 7 tracks of formulamatic, musically perplexing technique without substance. The weapons are definitely here for Downlord to strike out with death/grind vengeance, but someone forgot to give the band ammunition. The musical ideas alternate between chugging, palm muted verses and a definite death thrash based tremolo speed picking, but the bands fixation on out of key ideas presents a sameness to infect every track on both demos. You could literally listen to “Loathe. Scorn. Detest.” (The leadoff track on this EP) once and hear everything Downlord have to offer. Continuing onward only offers 6 more tracks that sound like the same song, just restructured a bit for those of you actually taking the time to pick this apart. It’s a tired sound/style that truly needs powerful musical content to make a dent in a long line of bands that came before them and already did this sound and style 100 times better. Downlord have missed the mark. Taking into consideration that this release is an introduction to the band, it is my hope that Downlord can be critical of their own work and realize that they’ll really need to bring something a lot more filling to the table for their debut. – Marty

~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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