The Boy Will Drown

Fetish

Written by: AP on 12/06/2009 15:35:54

Currently regarded as one of the most flamboyant and intense bands the United Kingdom has to offer (if the band's self-praise is to be believed), The Boy Will Drown and their debut full length, "Fetish", is another new hemorrhage in the deathcore genre, bleeding into it elements of technical death metal, grind and experimental hardcore in a bid to save the world from sugar-coated metal like so many other bands. The irony is of course that sugar-coated and accessible death metal is probably the best way to describe The Boy Will Drown and their thousands of peers, and that none of these things, as daring as they may look on a promo sheet, are particularly differential anymore.

No, this genre is a fertile breeding ground for young and technically able musicians and it takes more than just an eclectic mix of influences and profuse riffs to stand out. "Fetish" is one of the better candidates: a relentless and provocative assault on the ears with a sufficient amount of tongue-in-cheek attitude to defuse any preconceptions one might have about four super serious brootal kids and their garage death metal. I mean, one needs to have some balls to name one's songs "Josef Fritzl" and "Elisabeth Fritzl". But perhaps most intriguing about "Fetish" is that its technicality rests in just four members (only one guitarist), which means that for once in this genre the bass has been given a huge amount of prominence in the mix - not to mention freedom. One would expect the bass guitar to be used for extra punch in the rhythm section as is pretty much textbook in the genre, but here it plays more like a second guitar and tends to follow the lead riffs rather than the abundant double-pedal drumming in the background.

The greatest issue with "Fetish" is that the first half of it is spent almost exclusively in the grindcore domain and it's not until "Barrymore's Pool Party" that things begin to get interesting. Granted, the instrumental wonders of just about every song are enough to inspire casual interest (check out "Apollo's Lyre"), but there's only so much novelty sweeping arpeggios and machinegun drumming can bring. Fortunately in the latter half of the album the band ventures into a much broader soundscape (while never forgetting the extreme core of the band's music): the ringing that fans of of post-hardcore will immediately catch, the polyrhythms and abrupt tempo changes of experimental metal, and even a couple of subtle jazz injections. It's this second 'part' of the album that validates the media praise surrounding the band and one wishes this experimental facet had been exposed earlier.

It's not that the first six songs are decidedly bad - they're simply rendered meaningless by the rest. Songs like "Akura-Class" and "The Art Of Partying", for example, are some of the most imaginative and innovative songs ever to have found their way into this genre and should warrant a fair amount of satisfaction even from the most hardened metal veterans, and if not satisfaction, then respect at the very least. The Boy Will Drown seem to be more open-minded than most of their peers and it shows. "Fetish" belongs in the acceptable, elite end of the genre.

8

Download: Apollo's Lyre, Akura-Class, The Art Of Partying

For the fans of: Pig Destroyer, The Red Chord, See You Next Tuesday

Listen: Myspace

Release date 18.05.2009

Earache

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