Akron Empire would like to welcome guest blogger Jonathan McGory, who so graciously offered to write our first ever album review! Jonathan, a Cleveland resident, has played in a number of bands with horrible names.
by Jonathan McGory
I have to admit that I'm writing this while listening to Bonnie Tyler's melodramatic opus, "Total Eclipse of the Heart." I hope that gives the reader a sense of my background in metal. As a musician though, I understand that any piece of work-- whether it be Marilyn Manson or Hanson-- there needs to be a balance of technical ability and an interesting idea. A piece can be impossibly difficult to perform, but boring to listen to if it's just some musician playing scales faster than anyone else. On the other hand, a musician can have a million great ideas in her head, but if she doesn't know a C chord from a harpsichord, she won't be able to get those melodies out of her head and into reality.
|Album cover. Layout by David Maynard|
Akron Annihilation, a compilation of 11 metal acts our of the titular city, offers a wide range of bands that fall all over the spectrum. At its best, the album offers bands comprised of excellent musicians writing music that offers something new to the genre. "Letter of Intent" by Co_Conspirator mixes Sailing the Seas of Cheese-era Primus with more traditional metal elements and caps it off with some Queen-style a cappella.
|Co_Conspirator has been playing out in and around Akron since 2001.|
Apocalyptic Fist of the Black Death gets special notice for sounding like they were having the most fun playing their track, "The Whole In Things." A lot of bands fall in the trap of taking themselves too seriously, which usually leads to music no one enjoys listening to, and this can be especially true with metal. Also, their guitarist is pretty sick.
At its worst, the album features songs which sound played out. And to someone who does not listen to a lot of metal, that's saying something. The only thing interesting about "Piles of Dead Sluts" by Madness on the Mountaintop was the fact that the drummer was either playing a conga drum or his snare was turned off.
In the middle you've got bands that consist of one extremely talented musician surrounded by a few mediocre ones trying to keep up. National Collapse's guitarist is impressive, but "I Demand Sacrifice" doesn't really do much with that talent. Sworn to the Grave's drummer has the most ridiculous chops I've ever heard, but the rest of the band doesn't add much to "Ligature Marks." However, I won't put the entire blame on these other band members. The best musicians know when to hold back and keep from showing off for the sake of a song.
All of the bands on the album were able to communicate a message-- a message that separates metal from Mariah Carey. These bands were as mad as hell about something. Whether they're able to communicate that aggression in a way that the audience can understand and relate to is another story. But I can say that from listening to this album that Akron has some freakishly talented musicians and bands worth checking out-- even if you're not a metal fan.
|Fully Consumed, from Akron, describes their music as "Crushing Death Metal." They perform at the Outpost Saturday night.|
You can see several of the bands who contributed to Akron Annihilation at The Outpost in Kent this Saturday June 2nd as part of the local metal fest Align the Nine Part 2. Doors open at 5pm and ten bands will be performing all together, including RUE and NDE who will unfortunately both be performing for their last time. Also on the bill are Burn Blue Sky, Fully Consumed, The Unclean, Ravenna Arsenal, Red Water Tragedy, Ichabod Crane, First Cop and Foul Spirits. Advance tickets are only $10!
|Align the Nine will be Rue's last performance.|
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