Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Perth Express - Self Titled CD Review

Mastodon are a great band, don’t get me wrong, but do you ever feel like their songs sometimes drag on just a little too long? Every once and a while you just need that slab of down-tuned metal in smaller, more easily digestible bits, sort of like what Baroness has done with about half the songs on their Red Album. It’s only half their album, though, so you can't get a complete fix. Obviously, you can tell where I’m going with this. Perth Express is that band which manages to pull off the mini-Mastodon songs being alluded to.

This self titled effort is a compilation of Perth Express’ entire discography which consists of their self titled LP from 2006, their self titled 10” from 2004, a split 7” from 2004, and their self released demo tape from 2004. For some reason, this band just hates naming their musical efforts, but it doesn’t really matter since you have everything they’ve ever done (so far) here on one CD filled with 23 tracks.

From the first moment you spin up this CD, you’ll notice that this German band is intent on plowing through your stereo, doing so without ceasing or letting up. There is not a moment on this release where the pace settles or the band pulls back on the reigns... except for track 9, which works as a segue between songs, but we’ll ignore that as it’s a 1 in 23 anomaly. Now in most cases, this raw, undeterred aggressiveness would be something to be lauded, but over the course of 23 tracks the repetitiveness of it all becomes readily apparent. What is also very apparent is the very uniform production across all of the songs, barring the 4 songs from their demo which are pretty rough. For all intents and purposes the first 19 songs could have came from the same recording session.

Discographies are always a great way to experience everything a band has to offer, but it can also show a band’s lack of progress throughout their career. Sure, Perth Express is still a very young band with only a few years of history, but there is such little differentiation between everything they’ve done, it gets hard to enjoy listening all the way through, and full repeat listens sometimes feel like a chore more than anything else. There’s only so much down-tuned, hardcore-influenced metal that a person can take in one sitting. Truth be told, though, these guys know what they’re doing and there are numerous times throughout the album where you’ll catch yourself perking up as a song reaches a thundering climax or a sludgy groove will claw through the noise.

You really can’t go wrong with this album if you’re into the sludgy and dirty metal and are looking for something a little more compact than what the current stalwarts of the genre are putting out. There’s a lot here to listen to and a lot to like, but there’s also a lot that gets repetitive, so bear that in mind when considering picking up this album.

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