The Four Square Song Review
Hey, what's up? Welcome to the first installment of what we call the Four Square Song Review! And by we, I mean you, me, and the five moderators who'll read the title before it gets to you.
Four different bands? But Why? Muh Consistency...
I'd like to first respond by admitting that I don't like ranting. So get ready for this rant.
When you first discovered this site, what did you stay for? Entertainment, right?
As writers and readers, we're obligated to consume and create material that is enjoyable to someone. Too often I find myself painfully working to finish one of my song reviews. I get tired of skipping through the song trying to find at least one more good thing to say so I don't come off as an unpleasable Negative Nancy. Backspacing words and then hitting the undo button only to backspace again. All of this for the article to get demonetized and no one to read or comment.
You see, this journey that I started in the name of entertaining myself and others has turned into a horribly boring chore that makes me feel sad and unfulfilled. And I can't make anyone happy if I'm sad and bored. But putting smiles on people's faces is ultimately all I ever intended to do. And we all recall a wise man saying if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Somewhere along the line, my truck broke down, and this is me taking it to the mechanic to fix it.
The mechanic of fun.
So without further adieu here's the first song...
Inferi - Thy Menacing Gaze
What Do I Think?
Elitists will be pissed that I'm reviewing the middle song of a concept album, but I think the rest is far less than stellar, so take that Devin Townsend fans! Also, elitists will tell you that Dave Mustaine is a shitty guitarist whilst not being able to play Smoke on the Water without fucking it up...
The point here is don't listen to elitists. Listen to this song, instead.
First off the vocalist songs downright beastly. His highs are nasty as hell and his lows sound like a fucking demon. That's the kind of variety I love. The way his highs and lows are layered along with the guitar in the bridge make this track feel the background music to an epic battle. After all, it is the middle song in a concept album about ... badass things.
And speaking of the guitar. Oh boy. The stars of this song are the guitarists. Everyone else is awesome, but they are godlike. After each verse, the song erupts with an amazing dual guitar solo. The vocalist will shriek 'Thy menacing gaze!" and the guitarists will respond with solos that I can't describe as anything but the epitome of Melodic Death Metal. Seriously, this is why I love this genre. From the intro to the epic breakdown at the end, these guys are amazing. It's almost like this band has three frontmen, and two of them are guitars.
Speaking of the epic breakdown, the drummer is playing fast as all hell during it. Hell, he plays super fast through the whole song. The only times he slows down are during the refrains and during the solos.
That's right. The drummer merely slows down during the guitar solos. Tech death is a strange genre, ain't it?
Anyways, I give this track three out of five stars. I don't like the outro. Nothing sounds bad. But somehow it feels drawn out. And I get that this is a concept album and aesthetic is king or whatever, but this track could've easily been four and a half minutes and it would have still been great. Apart from that everything is amazing.
Bring Me the Horizon - (I Used to Make Out With) Medusa
I know what you're thinking. "Joe, Bring Me the Horizon? What the hell?" But before you throw your laptop out of the window and go cleanse your mind of those thoughts with some Cannibal Corpse, click the play button.
Ahah. You hear that? They didn't always suck. Maybe you already knew that. But I just found out. And how was I supposed to? The vocalist sounds like David Beckham when he talks. Who'd of thought he could growl like that?
And nowadays, they look less threatening than they sound.
The lyrics are generic emo break-up blues. And honestly, they're kind of juvenile at times ('So why don't you fuck yourself you fucking whore') And I get that this is a metal song and you have to be hardcore but the whole Medusa metaphor is ... meh.
You've got to at least give us a heads up before we I start listening to a song written by an apparently angst-ridden teenage Poseidon.
Apart from the 2006 production quality, the lyrics are the only thing that I don't like on this track. Seriously, you can only cry so much about your ex before you sound like a girl yourself. Even if she is Uma Thurman.
Ollie Sykes tears it up on the vocals. I had no idea he could scream like that. The first half of the track has him screaming, growling, and yelling. Sometimes simultaneously. And his death growls are adorable. Completely incoherent but adorable.
I'm not a drums guy, but I can tell you the drums on this track are banging. They're fast, and the bass sounds like a hit marker. Which is awesome. Hats off to the drummer.
But the thing that really drew me to this track was the guitar. The intro riff is fucking amazing. You can't help but headbang as the guitarist riffs and the drummer bangs everything on his kit. This is one of those songs that you let play for twelve seconds and start over just for the intro. The guitarist provides an awesome melody during all of the verses. Of course, he gets some chugging in there but just when it gets a little too repetitive he unleashes a badass solo.
Ultimately I think the most amazing things about this track are the way the guitars and the drums stand out from everything. The vocalist is great, but you have to know the lead guitarist and the drummer's names after this track because they really make it shine. I give this one four out of five guitar picks. Why not higher? The vocals sound kind of muddy and drowned out towards the end of the song. (That 2006 production quality.)
Within Destruction - Human Defect
Alright. It's time for the slam portion of this article. You know what that means?
Get ready for random pig squeals and enough chugging to rival the whole country of Ireland. And I mean random pig squeals. I checked the lyrics and the vocalist isn't saying anything when he starts shrieking like Porky Pig in a meat grinder. I think 'random pig squealing' must've been in the lyrics sometime during the writing process. That said, I like the vocals. They grew on me. The whole song sounds like it has gang vocals, which gives the song a groovy vibe. At one point the vocalist starts snarling like a rabid dog. I think 'make animal noises whenever possible' must be on his agenda whenever he tracks lyrics. I know I said that the guy in Giant of the Mountain sounded like a demon but this guy sounds everything but human. Dickie Allen does the bridge of the song and he sounds ... scary as hell. No one sounds human on this song.
The guitar provides most of the melody in the song. It's chugs for the most part. But the few riffs are pretty damn nice-sounding.
The drums stand out the most. The snare is really loud. In fact. I'd say it's SLAMming. Get it?
But apart from being really loud and noticeable, the drums are really fast. They sound like hit markers (Yes, I know I said that earlier.).
Overall, what drew me to this track was the variety of different vocal styles. There's squealing, screaming, belching, yelling and I still can't understand a word of the lyrics. But what I love the most about this song is that despite all of the screeching, the instrumental melody never leaves. It never sounds like a bunch of instruments clacking together randomly. Despite the incoherent vocals, the guitar, the bass, and the drums provide the contrast needed to round this track off and make it an enjoyable listenable. I give it three out of five guitar picks.
Callenish Circle -They Have Chosen
Some of you may not know who these bros are. They're Callenish fucking Circle. The best blackened death metal band to ever come out of the Netherlands. You may have heard them in the AngryJoeShow's outro.
These guys are the shit. This is the band that got me into harsher vocals. Without these guys, I wouldn't be reviewing any of these other songs. I'd probably still be listening to DragonForce or modern Bring Me the Horizon. But enough ass-kissing.
The opening riff on this song is infectiously catchy. It repeats just enough times to get stuck in your head, and the vocalist cuts it off at just the right time for you to miss it. And then the drums kick in. And they're obviously computerized.
Because the drummer is a fucking Terminator.
The way he hits the snares and bass pedals and travels around the whole kit so quickly ensure me that Sarah Connor isn't too far away.
And the vocalist is a beast. Literally and figuratively. The scream he cuts in the intro goes from high to higher to low to deep. And it lasts for ten seconds. Then this guy tears through these verses like a Velociraptor. And then he growls the refrains.
And we can't forget the guitarist. The bassist signals him off with a breakdown. He bangs out an amazing solo and then trails off into the intro riff again. Then the vocalist lets out a six-second scream and immediately after starts screeching the verses again. And this is all before the three-minute mark. And they chug, scream, and pound off until the end. So much awesomeness could not be contained in one song. Which is why their entire album sound just as awesome as this song.
But unfortunately, having so much awesomeness in one area offsets the balance of the world so they had to disband in 2007.
I have to give this one five out of five. And you already know I don't do that often.
Which one is my favorite?
"They Have Chosen" is my favorite out of the four. Honestly, I'll always hold a place in my heart for Callenish Circle because if it weren't for them I wouldn't have discovered melodic death metal at all. And they have the Gothenburg death metal vibe about them that all of the other bands lack. The vocals are just raspy enough to be enjoyable but still intelligible. There's so many riffs. The guitar tone is just right. You can't imitate that, and you damn sure can't beat it.
Phew. It's been incredibly fun to break the mold and to do something new and refreshing. I'll end things with a quote that pulled me through this thing until the end.
"You are devaluing what you have to say by offering it to an audience that does nothing but reject it." - Jordan Peterson
© 2018 Joey Smith