Ted Maul - White Label
Raise The Game
Industrial Death Metal
13 songs (1:01:09)
Release year: 2007
Ted Maul
Reviewed by Goat
Surprise of the month

Although Ted Maul is named after a character from the fantastically funny British comedy programs The Day Today and Brass Eye, there’s nothing humorous about the band’s savage style. Roughly like a more electronically-inclined Slipknot that’s been forced to listen to lots of brutal Death Metal, there’s a level of experimentation woven deep, deep into this band’s sound that makes it an exciting prospect. Although it has been in existence since 2002 Ted Maul was forced to release debut album White Label on its own label Raise The Game for fear of the songs it contained becoming obsolete as the band rapidly progressed.

However, by no means is this a second-rate release, on the contrary – it’s one of the best debuts that this pair of ears has heard for a long time. The sheer number of styles blended into the mixing pot is far too many to go through, but it’s fair to say there’s a few in every song, from the aforementioned Slipknot to Cryptopsy, Suffocation (Ted Maul supported the New York legends for its first ever live show), Napalm Death, Meshuggah (Gutting The Reason’s final section bends and twists like something from Catch Thirtythree), Sikth, and other London-based extremists like Corpsing and Akercocke (several members of Ted Maul started as techs for the ‘cocke).

Hopefully those put off by the mentions of Slipknot will still be reading, as this band is undeniably on the Metal side of the barrier. Riffs come at you constantly, with obviously talented guitarists churning and grinding them out; vocals are harsh growls and screams courtesy of the superbly named Solomon J. Lucifer Christ; drums are a fierce battery, a seething undercurrent to the surface chaos – there’s nothing for Death Metalheads to complain about here.

Of course, the best thing about this album is that Death Metal is only the makeup on top; the rotten face underneath is the Electronica foundation. There’s definitely a grimy Industrial atmosphere to this album and the subtlety to its use is marvellous, in sharp contrast to the usual flash-in-the-pan post-Gothenburg hopefuls, who always sound like they’ve overdosed on floor shine. The Death Metal masses will love the oddness of it all, whilst the more bleepy-inclined will recognise the foundation and dig it for that.

Several seamless interludes help to weave an uneasy atmosphere, especially when Six Days suddenly turns into full on Drum n’Bass, and throughout the album the Mathcore-y time changes keep you on your toes. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we’ve found it at last: another Industrial Extreme Metal band that can use electronics without being consumed by them. Red Harvest and Aborym finally have competition!

Highlights in White Label come thick and fast, from the rise-and-fall of kick-off track Forest…With This Memory Of A Free Festival to the pure mechanical madness of 200 DBs Down. The band stated in an interview that it wanted to sound like ‘a mentalist mix of Aphex Twin and the heaviest Death Metal’ and judging from this, it’s about as close as you’ll ever get. Few bands have such a sense of dynamics, either. Heaving Deathcore punches you in the face repeatedly in Catalogue Of Wasted Opportunities, before Lo Mas Negativo mops up the blood, providing a twisted breather before finale For The Innocent blasts into your skull, dedicated to the victims of London’s 7/11 bombing.

There’s little to no criticism that can be made. Quite simply, this is yet another original English band that manages to channel a mass of styles into a tight but warped assault of originality. Anyone interested in the future face of Metal would do well to give Ted Maul a listen, as odds are it’ll sound something like this.

Killing Songs :
Forest…With This Memory Of A Free Festival, Spherical Lie, Gutting The Reason, 200DBs Down
Goat quoted 88 / 100
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