Just about failing to come up for air
In my eyes, Earache Records have been a bit hit and miss in regards to their new crop of artists they’ve been signing up over the last couple of years, with the emphasis more on missing than hitting. So it was with great trepidation that I approached their latest addition The Boy Will Drown, who have just released their debut full-length effort Fetish (The follow up to their independently released self-titled E.P. from 2007). And just as I suspected, the U.K. (Norwich) based act’s debut is another of the label’s latest efforts to miss the mark by a long shot.
On the surface, the four piece act (Comprising of vocalist Tom Bates, guitarist Liam Keeler, bassist James Bates and drummer Ed Bell) seems to have all the right ingredients for an impressive slab of technical death metal/deathcore. In the boxes marked technical precision and brutality, the band have big bold ticks. But in terms of overall song writing and the execution of good ideas, there’s plenty of x’s marked in red.
Both the opening track Deep Throat (Which appeared on the band’s debut E.P. under the title of Deepthroat Isn’t A Movie) and Irminsul are just two of the more mildly interesting cuts on the album with some elements of groove and melody incorporated in amongst the constant changes of direction and tempos, but it’s a trend that doesn’t extend exclusively to the remaining eight tracks.
The mock dirty/scratchy vinyl sounding acoustic end at the tail end of Josef Fritzl, and its reprisal at the tail end of Dead Girls and Akura-Class sounds like a desperate attempt from the band to stretch the album out to as close to half an hour as possible without including another track. While the effect is interesting the first time around, it loses all impact after a third reprisal.
The short twenty-four second blast of Elisabeth Fritzl is somewhat entertaining, but it’s Dead Girls (A re-recording of Dead Girls Don’t Say No from their E.P.) and the closing track Suis La Luna that stand out the most, with the subtlest hints of melody stretched out enough to remain memorable in both efforts.
There’s no denying that The Boy Will Drown have the technical ability to impress, but until the band can write songs, anything they release beyond this point will only be a regurgitation of the same chaotic mess that is Fetish.
(Earache Records/Riot! Entertainment)