Written by: AP on 23/10/2006 15:43:42

Although Starkweather has managed to withstand the calling that most band of this genre readily follow, it remains one of the pioneers of the metal and hardcore crossover known as metalcore. The name Starkweather might not be familiar to all, but echoes through Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska" and the cult flick "Natural Born Killers" as a reproduction of Charles Starkweather's killing spree through Wyoming and Nebraska in the late 50's. Starkweather's fusion of hardcore and metal can be described as equally brutal.

"Croatoan" represents a long journey for the band, recorded already in 2004. With Pierre Remillard (Cryptopsy, Obituary) as producer the band's underground stench is lucid and understandable. "Croatoan" is inspired by Harlan Ellison's short story titled the same, adding to the diversity of allusions offered by the band.

The benefit of preserving an underground status is debatable, and "Croatoan" is clearly not light or accessible. The album features eight songs averaging six and a half minutes in length that exhibit a variety of influences ranging from old school Norwegian black metal chaos to Opeth-style clean vocals to straightforward hardcore. This album is particularly hard to assess because it cannot be confidently related to any genre or band.

The eight extremely slow-paced tracks and poor production quality certainly aspire to an underground standard and give the album an extreme quality, but the overall impression tends toward the mixed. On the one hand, one is drawn to respect and recognize the underground factor and the band's refusal to break free off this, but on the other hand, the album is virtually inacessible. So how to review something of this density? The simple and clear-cut answer is that it is impossible to establish how "Croatoan" sounds, what the album is about and what is great about it.

"Croatoan" is in many ways an impressive effort, but its deep roots in the underground scene make it a challenge. The solution is to recommend it, but advise to be aware of where the album comes from. As a devoted follower of the metalcore scene, I am of course biased in that I enjoy digging down to the roots of this genre and experiencing it at its very essence. Although the modern inheritence of bands like Starkweather prevails today, it is important to reconcile where it all started.


Download: Machine Rhythm Confessional, Hushabye: Goodnight
For the fans of: Obituary
Listen: Myspace

Release date 11.09.2006
Provided by Target ApS

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