Cork’s Five Will Die are putting in solid work on the ground, and there’s certainly no arguing with support slots to Mastodon, which rockers down there will have caught recently. They seem like the kind of band that work better in the live environment, when beer and atmosphere can soak up a performance’s finer points. Just as well – because to these ears, sadly it’s just too generic and underdeveloped on record.
After tens and tens of spins, I just can’t warm to what the band are doing. There are several reasons. One is the vocals. Though they’re ‘correct’ for their sludgy genre, and impressive for managing to faithfully recreate the sound of a man gargling wet cement, they’re just too one dimensional and basic. Every line follows the turn of the riff, almost without exception. There’s no variety, no invention and nothing that could even come close to being called dynamic. Just dun, dun, dun, delivered on the beat, every beat. It’s a lot to ask, and makes otherwise decent tracks like ‘Black Cloud’ almost unbearable.
Musically, things could be better too. No riff rises above the average, and the playing is at times ropey as well. Fine, within a style that isnt concerned as much with technique and control as plain rocking out – but in spite of this, several rough edges do need polished. It’s just a bit lumpen. There’s no touch, no spark and even save for exceptional passages, little by way of real emotion.
There are moments when the band come into their own. Despite the monotony of the vocals, the aforementioned ‘Black Cloud’ really does take on a doomed weight that gets some real feel going. ‘Bastard Grinder’ also shows promise in the rising development of the song from start to finish – again with the unfortunate caveat of extremely one-dimensional vocal patterns.
You either love or hate this sweaty, caveman style of bouncing, mulchy doom-lite, given how little tracks like ‘In The Blood’ have to offer to anywhere except a heaving live venue. Five Will Die certainly arent the chief offenders either; to this day Triggerman’s musical appeal confounds me equally as much. So perhaps its just a taste issue, and granted, ‘The Ballad Of Von Blunden’ is one example where this band’s style definitely gets it right on all levels.
The rest though is just too basic, too unrewarding and far from inspiring. I’d contend that had this been a three track demo of their best gear rather than an eight song splurge, it would be much more appealing. That, and remedying the vocal timing is something they’re going to have to take on board as time progresses, given that their two or three good tracks deserve a wide hearding. It would be a shame if so much other dead weight stopped that from happening.
Earl Grey ::: 14/12/08