11/12/2004 - Review by: Eric Compton
a decent band, but really aren't focused
3. The Clown
4. Walk Away
I guess you could look at this as simply the band's first demo, with Sweden's Slowlife deciding to release their debut recording as a five song EP. Anytime a band releases something like this before their first full-length record, well I just look at that as a demo. So, let's treat it that way, shall we?
With this new EP, the band go through the motions of today's standard metalcore acts, not really doing anything beyond the boundaries, but still creating a quality listen I suppose. I keep saying this when I review this type of music. With the melodic death metal stuff, it has become so popular that a million bands and their mothers are trying it out. The only way to really sort through the stuff is to find a handful of bands that really do the sound justice. I'm talking about bands that can stay extremely tight, with an energetic delivery, and possibly trying new things along the way. Thus far I've seen about fifty to sixty bands trying this style, and only a dozen or so that have what it takes to consistently spin in my player from time to time. Slowlife are a decent band, but really aren't focused with this collection of tracks. With the band being from Stockholm, Sweden, I was expecting a full metal charge the likes of an Entombed or Dismember. Instead I get Beastie Boys and Rage Against The Machine??
I'm drawing the comparison to the Rage Against The Machine and Beastie Boys because of the vocals more than anything. Vocalist Kristoffer Osterman is very hardcore in his delivery, but he refuses to commit fully to that sound. Instead he sort of pipes up in a high...yelp, very much like the above bands' delivery. It is really irritating to me, and I can't seem to get past the vocals to enjoy much of anything else. The opening track, "Humiliation", caught my attention with it's traditional metal sound, ranging from bands like In Flames to Gardenian. Melodic guitar and fast, tight chugging captivate a sonic ride of death metal. However, as I mentioned before, the death vocals aren't on this ride. After the first cut is when things really start to go downhill for me. "Crawl" is really filler material, not really doing much beyond a simple little groove riff. Very basic in delivery, and at this point I questioned why it would follow such a strong opener. From there we get "The Clown", with it's groove friendly Meshuggah sound. "Walk Away" follows in much the same fashion as the prior track, just more down tuned rumblings with Osterman's annoying vocal delivery. The last track, "Liar", is lifted straight from the Tool way of thought, with a standard groove riff and not much else.
So there you have it, a negative review from me on this demo. But let me say this, keep in mind that my ears enjoy power metal, with plenty of flashy guitars, solo ear candy, and a traditional soundscape from which to build. I don't particularly care for groups like Tool, Meshuggah, Mnemic, or any of the other "factory" metal acts out there. So who's to say someone into that stuff won't look at Slowlife as the next big thing? It is certainly a possibility, as I see comparisons to those groups. If you are a fan of that style, then by all means request this demo. If you like your melodic death to be more of the traditional caliber, then stay away from this stuff. Props to this Swedish act for not sounding traditional, but to my ears Slowlife will have a Shortlife.
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