Churn 'em out boys
Imagine if you will a market square, and one day someone sets up a fruit stall, but this is okay because no one else in the market sells fruit. The stall does great business because the fruit is extremely fresh, but soon a rival fruit seller arrives, but they have little impact on the first seller because the new stall sells different types of fruit. A few days later, because both stalls are doing a roaring trade, several other fruit sellers set up a pitch in an effort to milk the customer base. The customers themselves are happy because they now have several choices of fruit seller all offering something different. Eventually there are so many fruit sellers that every fruit is catered for and there aren't enough customers to keep all the fruit sellers in business. But still more fruit sellers arrive selling the same fruit as the rest of the other stalls. After several years there are four hundred stalls all selling fruit, of which some are much fresher than others, and the public begin to wish for somebody to start selling something different.
If you're still with me then replace 'fruit' with 'metal-core', imagine the first three fruit sellers are Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall and Lamb of God, and change seller 400 for Germany's Deadsoil. Hopefully you'll get an understanding of the bloated, over populated scene that Deadsoil are hoping to break in to. The press release for 'Sacrifice' says that the band "combine the best ingredients of metal and hardcore" which, in my eyes, is 'metal-core,' and it certainly isn't a new thing. But still the record companies churn out these bands in the hope of finding the next Killswitch Engage. But they can't be getting much return from their investments, there's only so much money the metal-core fan-base can spend.
Long-winded analogies aside, Deadsoil have produced an album that is certainly heavy and brutal. Friedrich Weber's vocals are competent in the growling and screaming department, He occasionally show's his more melodic side with the usual Soilwork-esque sing-a-long-able chorus, for example in 'Unspoken' and Echoes, but these are few and far between. His barrage of angst sqwarking is complemented by a tidy but bass-drum heavy production. It certainly shows off the band's strength, which is creating those slow plodding staccato chugging riffs made famous by Killswitch Engage. But this is the problem with 'Sacrifice,' it borrows to obviously from it's peers. The Staccato ideas get increasingly monotonous because it is over-used (On almost every track) and eventually stems the flow of the ideas either side of it.
If I'm being honest I was quite hopeful for this album after the first three tracks as they are genuinely good cuts, 'Unspoken' in particular containing a killer chorus. But as the track listing moved on the band befell upon mediocrity, chocking out the same old metal I've heard from such bands as Duskfall, All that Remains, The Haunted and all of the bands I've already mentioned in this review. By 'Forget Everything' I was getting bored, only the acoustic 'Remembrance' was a rest-bite in the barrage of brutal monotony. It's not that 'Sacrifice' is a bad album, it's just that Deadsoil have some fairly encouraging riffs, namely in 'Viper' and 'Collapse,' but they've used them in exactly the same way as every other metal-core band. It's certainly not a step in the right direction, it's certainly not a stab at longevity and it's certainly, according to the press release, not taking metal and hardcore to another level. (Unless the level is a couple below their current one)
'Sacrifice' is another metal-core album to be thrown onto the pile with all the rest. Kids of the metal-core scene will probably lap it up for a while at least before their attentions are diverted to the next band on the metal-core conveyor belt. I know I'm making it all sound a little depressing for the band, but if they want to still be around and relevant in 2008 then perhaps a little creative development is in order. They can all play and have some decent ideas at their disposal, I just wish that Deadsoil and many like them would try and stretch the definition of 'metal-core.' And in the fruit sellers market it will take only one person to start selling savoury pastry snacks for the whole market to change. Let's hope Deadsoil can be that savoury pastry snack seller.