Merendine Atomiche - RAW
Mausoleum Records
Old School Metal / Metalcore
11 songs (46:37)
Release year: 2006
Merendine Atomiche, Mausoleum Records
Reviewed by Al

A long time ago in a musical landscape far, far away, things were simpler. Metal came in less than 10 subgenres, hairspray was considered a flattering fashion accessory for a man and nu-metal was just a glint in Jonathan Davis’ eye. Some people long for this time with a feeling of deep nostalgia…things were better then. As opposed to penning detailed diatribes on the frailty of the human spirit, bands were far more likely to write songs revolving around things such as beer, sex, cars, more beer and the various combinations of these three things. Some of us long for these times, I’m not one of them, but some of us long for them nonetheless.

Merendine Atomiche have taken a stance on this situation. Why long for the past when you can inject its ideology into the music of today? By the ideology of the past I mean songs containing no nonsense, hard hitting distorted riffs and red-blooded male friendly lyrics. By the music of today I mean metalcore…what else?

The band has been around a while, Hailing from Italy and forming in 1995 they certainly have their due paying behind them. Despite being around for this lengthy amount of time this is only their sophomore effort, the follow up to 2003’s Walk Across Fire. They have apparently appeared on a variety of compilation and tribute albums, but I am unfortunately at a loss to supply you with details.

The general sound combines chugging bass heavy riffing at times reminding me of Judas Priest and at others Pantera with decent if occasionally unimaginative drumming. The vocals for the most part are the same, veering wildly between an Anselmo-esque aggro croon and straight-laced omnipresent metalcore stylings. There is an element of the unpredictable to all this by way of some pretty good, albeit too rare, solos and a very decent acoustic number.

When this formula works, and on occasions it does, the band explodes in spectacular style. Whether it be the acoustic intro led political stomp-a-thon of ‘Peace Means War’ or the simply awesome stop start brutality of ‘Breathe the Big Apple’ this band knows how to pen an awesome tune when the mood takes them. Everything just works, and the general vibe will have you banging your head and singing along without heed to your unfortunate fellow public transport users.

However there are also times when the formula falls flat on its face. This unceremonious absence of goodness comes not from the bands lack of talent, lyricism or vision but from an ability to without warning start sounding like everybody else out there. Take album opener ‘In The Cage’ for example. Its simple, bottom heavy distorted riffing and ‘clean’ chorus would not be out of place on 101 other vanilla metalcore albums and unfortunately it’s not the only track that suffers in this way.

The argument can always be put forward that music does not have to be original to be good. I for one, despite being a great advocate of progressive elements, have to agree. Some bands take a certain tried formula and just get it right. The problem today however is that there is such an over saturation of certain genres (metalcore, I’m looking menacingly in your direction) that the quantity over quality effect starts to come into play. While I admire Merendine Atomiche for trying to marry the styles of past and present and at least producing some decent music as a result the overwhelming déjà vu I experience while listening to some tracks just sullies the experience somewhat. This is a slightly better than average album from a band that is capable of a very good one. Here’s hoping.

Killing Songs :
Roads and Beers, Breathe the Big Apple and Peace Means War
Al quoted 68 / 100
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There are 5 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:41 pm
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