Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Telemachus - Only On Earth

In a field like technical death-metal, it’s very rare to find truly underground, little known music, churning out sharp, cutting-edge riffage that you would expect from the giants of metal. Yet so blissful was said riffage to my ears that I held off reviewing this EP for some time, knowing I would need to summon all of my inner powers in praise of the beauty found on this recording.

These guys are almost good enough to be held in accolade alongside modern day legends such as Arch Enemy, In Flames or Amon Amarth. The riffs are original and raw, driven by amazing double-kick and churning bass. The singer has one hell of a growl too. I’m pretty much at a loss for words to describe how awesome this music is. They find a way to take all the clichéd bits that metal has churned out over the decades and breathe new life into it. It sounds modern, yet you can feel the weight of behemoths like Lamb of God and Death behind each guitar stab and kick. This is heavy, gut-wrenching stuff that kicks you in the soul and makes you want to start a band just to be able to play and feel the force of one perfectly timed guitar/bass/drum triplet.

I think the only reason they’re not famous is a mere few things: the singer is mono-tonal, it would be great if the pitch of his voice moved around a bit with the guitars. The drumming is slightly “lazy”. One thing that makes an incredible band incredible is when you don’t notice the drummer - because they don’t make mistakes and keep perfectly in time - but unfortunately this guy just stays slightly off pace, and although they’ve obviously been playing together long enough for the guitarists and bass to allow for this, and at first it sounds tight, repeated listens reveal that there are some timing issues here.

The main factor, though, contributing to their apparent lack of success would have to be their “packaging”, and no I’m not talking about what’s in their pants. I mean their overall “sheen”. They have on their MySpace a free download of this EP, but clicking on the link takes you to a Rapidshare download, where you will find a .zip of the 7 tracks, poorly tagged, and 2 Ableton Live documents which appear to have been added accidentally. This coupled with a slightly “sloppy” online presence seems unprofessional. I would suggest www.archive.org as a good place to offer free downloads, and I strongly advise releasing under a Creative Commons license if you want it to be free but still want basic rights like attribution and non-commercial use. Also, getting the tagging consistent would just make things seem a bit more professional.

Having said that, I feel that the amateurishness of this band contributes to making it so good. They’re fresh, invigorating, and we are assured on their MySpace page that “the best is yet to come”. I look forward to that immensely. Underground death metal is alive and kicking, it appears, and kicking hard.


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