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#41 - Ralph Santolla's Stench Of Redemption

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Jackalfeud | ‘Blood And Wires’ Demo


They’ve always been an ambitious lot, these ones, and have punched far higher than their weight in the past. But they realised early on the value of a solid production and a good package, which is more than can be said for most. Rest assured then that this one is the business – gatefold slipcase no less, with the kind of surpassing artwork that demands attention.

Musically, ‘Blood And Wires’ shows them at the height of their musical maturity to date. There’s no doubt about that. But the fact is it’s a record entering a grossly obese genre – the one where singers hold those long clean notes before screaming something or other, over chords Deftones used to use. It’s good then that Jackalfeud can see past their fringes, metaphoric and presumably actual, to chart a clear path.

Basically, each of the stronger songs have enough changes, moves and quirks to preserve interest. Not only that, but to make the tracks excellent within their field. Granted, ‘Eyes For The Chaosbringer’ pinches the main jangle from The Farm’s ‘Altogether Now’ (yes, you read that correctly), but it’s a cool enough track. Ditto for opener ‘Silhouettes’, which is as strong and capable as they get – and which blows a lot of stuff here out of the water. Even Ireland’s highly credible and recently reviewed Roper dont get it this right. So it’s good gear.

Problems however remain. Track four, in the form of ‘April O’Neill’ (an excruciatingly noisecore title : please get over it guys, this kind of crap ended in 2002), is mawkish and loaded with something smelling distinctly like adolescent American drama. ‘The Coven’s brief vocal guestspot seemingly goes out of its way to sound like Tool as well, which generally isn’t recommended.

These gripes aside, though the music wouldnt be anywhere even approaching my own cup of you know what, it’s undeiably excellent stuff. Properly put together, properly presented, its an object lesson in how to do a self-release correctly. Frankly I’d buy it on looks alone, and that’s £5 more in their back pockets than your band’s. So have a think about that. It’s solid as a rock.

Earl Grey ::: 11/09/07


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