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February 1 2005
Hackneyed - Death Prevails
Death metal pups not quite up to messing with the big dogs just yet
Hands up those who are automatically skeptical when you read words like “jaw dropping” in band promo ... just as I thought, all of you (I forgot to mention I have cameras in all of your homes). Now hands up those who would be at least keen to hear said band when you read the members have an average age of 16 (with one guitarist clocking in at 14). Hmmm ... again, just as I thought (remember, cameras! Hey, stop that... if you go blind you can't read The Metal Forge!)
Truth is, Hackneyed are talented and the drumming (Tim) and vocal (Phil) performances are quite admirable, the guitars (14 year old Devin/ix) are well played and the riffing travels through some decent chugs, pace and intricate harmonies. There are however plenty of 'heard it before' moments throughout that fuels the skepticism and even a couple of riffs that belong more to a Static-X album than death metal. The track titles and lyrics however are where things get a little immature (Gut Candy(!), Axe Splatter and Bone Grinder being the main culprits).
Opening track Unseen Enemy is 40 seconds of intro (kids voices and effects) and a brief one and a half minutes of blast/chug that ends abruptly. The oddly titled Gut Candy is a catchy number that relies heavily on a host of repeating central riffs, ending with an interesting short snare/clean guitar interlude that leads into a chugging outro. Ravenous sports a brief electronica intro before galloping along on a double kick driven riff ala Bolt Thrower or later Carcass.
Axe Splatter brings a more thrash orientation to the fray, employing some notable guitar harmonies in the latter moments of the track. Neon Sun follows next with an atmospheric intro including a clean guitar melody, bass and a range of cymbals, opening up into a driving riff utilizing the same melody. The song progresses to faster death metal realms and even a mosh pit-ready riff for good measure. Worlds Collide starts out with a perplexingly Nu-Metal riff that is soon discarded and chugs along like it never happened, only to appear again. The latter part of the track chugs along with an underlying ethereal keyboard melody to great effect.
Symphony of Death starts out in a brutal fashion (although the blast feels a little 'loose') and employs a range of keyboard harmonies and different feels along the track's duration. Bone Grinder starts out with an effected guitar intro before getting into some staccato riffing/drumming, occasionally sounding a bit too simplistic but all together saved by the epic multi-layered guitar and keyboard outro. The brief final track Again kicks off with another strange riff, almost Megadeth/Annihilator-like in it's approach, repeating continuously with a small harmony beneath it to attain a chorus. It's pure filler though as it abruptly ends the album with a humorous scream/gargle after a mere one and a half minutes.
Overall Death Prevails is technically proficient death metal and interesting enough to warrant a listen, but as for “jaw dropping” ... nah.
(Nuclear Blast Records/Riot! Entertainment)
Added: June 13th 2008
Reviewer: Mark Lennard
Related Link: MySpace Website
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