Monday, August 28, 2006

With Blood Comes Cleansing - Golgotha CD Review

Up until the last year or two, metal and metalcore had a pretty standard set of vocal types. There was the classic hair metal wail (now used prominently by Dragonforce). There was the sing / scream dichotomy (which was brought into the limelight by Atreyu and their clones, but done best by Sevendust). You also had the nu-metal melodic approach (see any band from the early 2000’s). Lastly, there were the growlers (ie: Zao) and the yellers (ie: Machine Head, Pantera). Recently, however, there is a new vocal type that keeps coming up when listening to newer metal bands — the pig squealers. Job for a Cowboy has the most noticeable version of this vocal type, but bands such as Lokyata and With Blood Comes Cleansing showcase it as well.

Obviously vocals don’t make a band, but in the case of With Blood Comes Cleansing it is the most prominent feature of the band. Even being of the squealing variety, there is actually a moderate amount of variation, believe it or not. At times you get the straight on pig squeal. Other times it is an uncomfortable sucking in style of scream where it feels like Michael Sasser is trying to suck air down his wind pipe while he’s screaming the vocals out. Interesting as it may be, it doesn’t feel even close to natural.

Beyond the stylings of the vocal approach, the rest of the band rumbles in riding on a series of breakdowns and thrash inspired progressions. Most of the time the band sticks to chugging riffs punctuated by your usual start/stop, heavy as hell, break your face, hardcore inspired breakdowns. To spice it up, however, Jeremy Sims and Scott Erickson will bring on some shredding that sounds akin to solid Through the Eyes of the Dead or The Black Dahlia Murder rips. It’s a welcome change from the straight ahead death metal tinged metalcore approach found throughout most of this effort, but still doesn't do enough to get the band to move up the metalcore ranks.

The real downfall of this band is actually not that noticeable if you don’t try to decipher what’s being sang or read the CD insert. If you do, be prepared for some of the most in-your-face, preachy, pro-God lyrics to come around since Stryper or DC Talk. Take this passage from “Persecution” for example: “At the presence of God every knee will bow / Every tongue will confess He is Lord”. Or how about this gem from “Fearless Before Opposition” which goes like: “The demons draw nigh / The angels cry / Holy is the lamb / The lamb that was slain / The hour is coming for our king to return”.

If you can get beyond the lyrics and the aping of Job for a Cowboy, this really isn’t all that terrible of a release. What it comes down to, in the end, is how much you really need another metalcore CD in your collection, even if this one is generally better than the majority of the crap from Victory that is no doubt currently cluttering your music racks.

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