Lupara - Lupara
Crash Music
Death Metal
11 songs (34'35")
Release year: 2006
Lupara, Crash Music
Reviewed by Alex
Crap of the month

It is by design that I wanted reviews of Lupara and Abysmal Dawn to appear in the same weekly batch. Two young US bands coming up with their full-length debuts, both bands playing death metal on the same label (Crash) - but yielding totally different results. The choice is yours: good songwriting where melody meets intensity vs. mind numbing groovefest hoping to latch onto some commercial coattails.

I am not much familiar with Broken Hope where Lupara’s main man Jeremy Wagner (rhythm guitars) came from. I am happy enough that Broken Hope gave Sean Baxter to Council of the Fallen, another great up-and-coming American band. Thus, I can’t tell whether Jeremy is further promulgating Broken Hope concepts and ideas with Lupara, or the latter is trying to embark on something of its own. Whatever it is, to me, this self-titled debut represents everything that is wrong with modern death metal in the US.

In the genre where stagnation is within reach from the get-go, this is what happens when you dial your creativity to “mediocre” and set out with one goal – brutally pummel the listener into submission. In the end you will produce an album suitable only for ninja kicking in the pit, the practice quite popular with today’s younger death metal crowd, but something I detest. So what if Jeremy’s chops are as precise as machine gun automatic rapid fire? You simply can not construct an album-full of songs around it. The age-old recipe of Slayer in the faster parts and power chord Pantera in the slower parts, with Lamb of God menacing attitude, can’t lift this from the doldrums. Not even if the production is strong and evil-sounding. Whatever shreds of darkened melody that exist on the album (As the Darkness Surrounds) are offset with some terrible choices for downtuned chugging which kill off the little dynamics there is. No wonder Paul Gray of Slipknot calls this a “fucking bad-ass”. Perhaps, in addition to this monotony he also thinks vocalist Noa Brady is turning in a starlit performance? Noa’s combination of gurgling hardcore screams and lower tone more typical death metal vocals alternates with unbelievable predictability on many tracks on Lupara, most noticeably on the opener Four Leaves War.

This album is so repetitive it can certainly pass for aural torture in the nowadays debated detainee abuse. Just have those guys listen to Lupara 2-3 times in a row and you will be able to extract information by the pileload. My brain and senses were turned off quite soon into it, so while yawning hard, I marveled at my own patience getting through Lupara twice myself, to be able to describe it to you. Should I have tried for more spins? Nah, it is not that there is a whole lot of nuance buried in these notes.

Definitely good as a live opening act for Hatebreed and Lamb of God, Lupara will gain recognition with the kids who want to smash things. I hope the bands I choose to listen to in the live settings do not pick Lupara to accompany them. Knowing how to spell “rhythm” guitars in the booklet should also be helpful. One mistake can be a typo, but two are definitely a trend.

Killing Songs :
No Pity on the Ants, As the Darkness Surrounds are slightly better than the rest of the lot
Alex quoted 30 / 100
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