Roadside Burial is ex-Volatile, a rather unknown band, at least here in Europe, who supposedly played grindcore. Personally I have never heard Volatile, even if the name is so fucking cool…(1, 2, 3)… NOT! A two men band with a terrible sounding drum machine isn’t exactly what usually stirs interest in me but considering how many times I have been wrong by judging Cds by the cover lately, I swear I am putting myself in trancelike state while listening to this record so I can be as objective as possible.
Let me see… the vocals are cool, of the two-layered kind you know. The riffs are little more than crust core a la Discharge lus some metal added. These drums are unbearable so let’s skip them for once. Well to say this stuff is unremarkable would be a desperately honest judgment. If this band was from Czech republic and had Bizarre Leprous routine 2 second shit cover I would have already thrown it in the “average death metal” heap. Being a Australian band with a 15 year background, I want to convince there is more here than a bunch of riffs written after a dope party over a totally anonymous drum machine program. No – really – this is not bad stuff, but so incredibly average I would barely recommend it unless you have 5 euros in your pocket after a bad show in a local squat and need to go home with something new. There are still good bands around that have to be exploited (since we talk Australian ground, get the latest Cemetery Urn album – pure gold), I see no need to go with this, not to mention the artwork on cover is really routine too. Good guitar sound, cool vocals, if nothing else.
Even admitting that science fiction is not my favorite metal topic (it wasn’t even with Nocturnus or Hawkwind), I must say this Cd comes in a surprisingly deluxe format. Sci-fi is a strong concept here: futuristic post apocalyptic machine wars a la The Terminator appera on lyrics, cover, layout and all. The package contains a double disc that includes a DVD containing a detailed footage on the recording of the album. A huge folding digipack with thick glossy booklet and slick digital art: things have been done seriously here, with tons of computer graphics and a very accurate layout. I still prefer black and white, but things here have been done quite well. I just plainly don’t like computer graphics, be it Lust of Decay or Putrid Pile.
I had to make some research on the band, whose name I never heard of before. Raices Torcidas is from El Salvador, and comprises some members that also swapped lines with Kabak as well (great band – this one I knew!). I was surprised to read that this is their THIRD full-length, I must be very ignorant on the El Salvador metal scene.
I was pretty afraid that with all this advanced technological stuff all over and the terrible opening aggro riff I was in for some Fear Factory-like modern metal monstrosity. Well, I was quite wrong. Their sound is not sick or grisly but they play pretty good, decent Brutal Death anyway, with an excellent if uneven production, swine vocals, distorted guitar and all the rest. This band sounds pro and powerful, with tons of those tremolo riffing so dear to late Cannibal Corpse, Putrilage and Enthrallment. I liked much their multi-layered vocal approach, even though in the end we’re not listening to anything impossibly brutal or memorable. Good and honest Brooootal Death Metal of new generation but played with passion. Good and very focused in the end. Something to appreciate.
But I still prefer gore.
Compared to the bestial burst of Afgrund, I am not overly impressed by Relevant Few. Too much wanking in the field of dissonance and disharmonies, and all the grindcore energy sinks in the overuse of these experimental bridges. The vocals are lacking real solidity, they’re more like an exercise in screaming that real outbursts of rage if you know what I mean. Seems like the band is lacking in anger and anger in grindcore is everything. That said there are a lot of interesting aspects here that deserve to be exploited like precise drumming, decent production, brilliant ability to sew together the riffs in a flowing song that parts from the classic schemes, and an interesting array of lyrics. Comparisons might be done with “as far from metal as possible” grindcore bands like His Hero Is Gone or Man is the Bastard but that just scratches the surface – I am not good with finding similarities. Blasting grindcore a good 90% of the time, too bad for the really useless use of leaks and weird harmonies – I’d go for the throat instead.
Top track is the last one, where the band seems to have finally shrugged away the bullshit and did everything the right way. Screams, blasting, guitar hammering for 61 seconds. If I had to save a song it would be this one.