Thursday, 20 September 2012

Seracrusis - The Downfall

Self Released 2012
1.Pride 2.Flght 11 3.Requiem Pt.1 4.Black Honour
5.Downfall 6.Under The Guillotine 7.Requiem Pt.2 (Sonata in BM)
Describing themselves as Melodic Death/Thrash/Core/Black Progressive Metal Manchester’s Seracrusis promised to be an intriguing listen indeed. Opening up with a melodic acoustic guitar as an intro, quite standard in metal terms, before ‘Pride’ opens up and yes, there are a hell of a lot of influences on display here, from melodic death metal through to Hardcore and even some maiden-esque riffing. One thing that jumps right out at you (or not as the case may be) is the production. It has been mastered so quietly that’s its actually quite hard to listen to and the production on the drums is virtually non-existent (where are the kick drums?). Vocally it’s clean sung all the way through this opening track, not the best in the world, but doing just enough to stop them from being totally shit. ‘Flight 11’ begins in similar fashion, alot more maiden style dual guitar lead sections on offer which really stand out, but sadly highlight the horrendous production unfortunately. The bass guitar jumps through these riffs, bobbling around in its own little world with the non-existent drums barely in the background. The production appears to get even worse the longer the song goes on…this is becoming hard listening indeed. There are one or two ‘screams’ thrown in to add an extreme edge, but to be frank, they barely register. It is at this point that I’ve just checked the track listing in my media player and the songs have been burnt to disc in the wrong order – poor show guys (this review will be based on the order they have been presented on this disc). ‘Requiem Pt.1’ is again based around maiden style riffing. The track then breaks into an acoustic interlude, which by the sounds of things is where the band is trying to incorporate the ‘progressive’ element to their sound. It sadly lacks the musicianship to truly grab your attention though.
‘Black Honour’ begins life in a relatively brutal fashion compared to what we have witnessed previously, screamed scathing vocals preferred to the (almost emo) cleanly sung style. Obligatory breakdowns are introduced and this is where the track begins its downhill slide, never really deciding what to do with itself and ending up a mix of generic styles which don’t impress. ‘Downfall’ sounds promising as the melodic guitar work is backed up by some simple, but atmospheric keyboards. It’s only when the song bursts into life that you realise the production is ruining what might be some okay sounding songs. Ending on some decent sounding piano work, but yet again, failing to impress. ‘Under The Guillotine’ shows promise as the band have upped the pace and are using the screamed vocals to good effect. What tends to let the song writing down is when these guys try to incorporate the more progressive style riffing into their songs; it somehow just doesn’t cut it. Mixing styles is all well and good, when done properly, but sadly these guys are some way off doing that. When the heavier, death metal style riffing is used, you can’t help but feel that with a killer production, this band might be capable of producing something pleasing to listen to. ‘Requiem PtII (Sonata in BM) suffers the same fate as every track before it… absolutely horrible production. Not sure who was in charge of production duties, but whoever it was needs shooting (or at least some lessons in how to use a studio). Note: Listening to the bands tracks on their bandcamp page, the production sounds totally different, the mix being slightly better, so whatever the lads have sent me to review is another let down and not really how to showcase your bands release. Summing up, the band are full of bright ideas and as mentioned, given a half decent production, will probably be more than capable of releasing a decent e.p., but based on what’s been sent for review, there’s some way to go yet with improvement definitely needed on the organisational front (i.e. send the tracks in the right order). A big let-down, but does show potential.
4.5 Out of 10

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