Rusty Eye

Stendhal Syndrome

Written by: EW on 28/01/2010 13:12:17

If you've just come from my review of "Rust n' Roll" you'll know that my major concerns there were re the topics of female vocals and flat productions, factors that instantly take precedence in the opening of "Birds Of Prey", the lead track off the band's 2006 album "Stendhal Syndrome". Firstly the bounding riffs that open the song are much heavier and fuller in sound that anything from their debut so a plus point for that, but there exists again the issue of the female vocals, on this occasion from now-long time drummer/vocalist Miss Randall. Randall's throat is without doubt stronger (and better mixed) than what I previously experienced, as exhibited in "Turn It Up", and too they make a contribution without negatively affecting the overall listening experience, but I'm not sold on the passion or quantity of unique elements necessary to help push the band forward into greater territories.

In "Turn It Up" the gang vocals overall do work well before the rest of the short album sees a greater focus on instrumentation in a style that has lost a portion of the punk side noticed on "Rust n' Roll". "Mr. Cannibal" and the title track still retain that garage feel (most obvious in the drum sound) which is actually a pity because these two see Rusty Eye structuring their songs into a template significantly more waterproof that what countless other acts have 'made it' with down the years. There's nothing out-of-this-world about these two but as singular tracks that stand up to repeated listening their greater depth and the more interesting composition does the band no harm whatsoever, serving as a good introduction to the band.

I stated 'short album' above because tracks 6-8 are actually culled from the band's "Cryogenic" EP of 2005, leaving "Stendhal Syndrome" itself at around 24 minutes long. Of those bonus tracks "Cryogenic Suspension" is the sole one worth bothering about; the very Maiden-esque "Zombie" could well have been but some contentious tuneless vocal harmonies are a hurdle I am just not able to clear.

As should be expected from a six-year gap the improvements from "Rust n' Roll" are clear to see, but more still needs to be done to fine-tune the band into something to capture ears and minds in greater number...


Download: Mr. Cannibal, Stendhal Syndrome
For The Fans Of: Iron Maiden, Discharge
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 2006
Epoché Records

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