il Giudice EP

Written by: PP on 13/05/2008 02:13:06

I was surprised to find another HouseMaster release arrive in my mailbox some time ago, after I pretty much dissected their demo EP down with a chainsaw in my review (a perfectly fitting approach considering their b-movie horror theme lyrics sung in Italian). But I did finish off my review on a positive note, writing it off as just a demo album and hoping to hear some progress. The band seems to have listened to what I and other reviewers across the web wrote about them the first time around - "il Giudice EP" sees an improvement in almost every aspect of the band.

Just in case you missed it, their demo hinted towards 80s thrash metal complete with garage-like lo-fi/lack of production. Although it failed to get me interested in the songs individually, you could still hear the occasional bit where you thought the band was heading into right direction.

Today, those moments are more plentiful. "Screw You!" has a "Reign In Blood"-esque thrash riff-base - the kind that just begs to be head banged to. The lead riff keeps the listener involved throughout the song, but unfortunately the vocalist still resorts to the high-pitch squealed vocals far too often, ruining any prospect this song would've otherwise had. Similarly, "Duel" offers a couple of decent riffs, but the unserious (?) vocal style variations remove any credibility from the instruments. Lets keep in mind again that the songs are sung in a Italian/English language combination, so most people will have enormous difficulty understanding what's going on, meaning that they pay much more attention to the style, consequently setting the band into a negative light. Another great example of the latter is found on the title track, which instrumentally sounds like it could be background music to a massive car chase from a Bond movie. But once the girl-screamed vocals enter the song, you start to wonder whether HouseMaster and "il Giudice" are more of a joke than an actual band and a release.

Moreover, one aspect that hasn't improved the slightest bit is the production. HouseMaster still sounds like they are recording through several layers of sock and a shoe, making it rather impossible to hear the fine details of the instruments thanks to a mix that buries everything underneath the terrible vocals. I must again state that in 2008, you just can't get away sounding like shit. It's not the 80s anymore, we have proper recording technology available for reasonable prices also for usage at home! Consequently, it's hard to take "il Giudice EP" any more seriously than the demo EP. There may be ten times more and better guitar riffs, but that's not gonna help if your vocals are terrible and the production makes the songs sound like ass.


Download: Screw You
For the fans of: 80s thrash
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.12.2007

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