Written by: PP on 09/02/2007 17:42:00

Lokjaw's official biography states that the Vancouver band "bridges the gap between hardcore metal and alternative metal with unheard intensity". The statement in itself is accurate, however I don't quite see where the justification for the 'unheard intensity' part is. Sure, their vocalist sounds a lot like the ragga-metal band Skindred's, raging and murmuring above the instrumentation, and it is indeed true that their instruments are lowly tuned, full of hammer-ons, pull strings and massively heavy parts, but even so a band like Converge or even Fear Factory sounds significantly heavier than Lokjaw, even though the vocal-wise chaotic ending of "173 words" paints a picture of anarchy and disorder fortified by the dirty-distorted guitars.

Lokjaw's vocalist Jerome's voice is full of either desperate chaos or despair on the album. When he switches from the clean Jonathan Davis (koRn) style to the raw scratched desperate ones, parallels to late Kurt Cobain at his most desperate could be drawn (see "Tourette's"), and he is actually able to pull it off nicely enough. But the rap-metal songs like "Deadicated" are where it all falls apart. The band can call it alternative metal as much as they want, but they won't be able to get around the fact that this is nu-metal at its most annoying, most hated stance. While the instrumentation and the delivery of the song are in order and come across greatly, the song is ruined by the rapping that makes Fred Durst sound tolerable. Nu-metal died almost seven years ago, guys, and it did it for a reason. Lets meditate for a second about who could possibly be interested in rap-metal in 2007? The metalheads will frown upon it being 'fake metal' and probably call it 'gay', the emo kids from hot topic stores will think it's too heavy and frown upon the vocal style, and the hard rockers will ask themselves "I thought koRn wrote these exact songs in mid-90s when nu-metal was flourishing?" And this is despite the ragga-metal (see Skindred) touch that "El Santo Dinero" possesses.

Lets just say that I was initially tempted of drawing a big "NO!" sign in paint and using that as the review, but that wouldn't be fair to the band. All the rap-metal criticism aside, not all tracks on the album are as bad. When Jerome uses some clean vocals and when they avoid the rapping in their songs, the band portrays themselves in a hundred times better light. And considering how they are still unsigned and this record is self-released, they should re-think their songwriting strategy for the next album and leave out the rap-style verses if they ever want to get signed. Can you think of any nu-metal bands who have been signed in the last five years? I certainly can't.


Download: Deadicated, El Santo Dinero
For the fans of: koRn, Limp Bizkit, Skindred
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.10.2006

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