AlienHate EP

Written by: PP on 06/01/2009 23:00:43

Bioscrape are one of the few underground Italian metal bands that I've been following with some interest ever since their self-titled demo was sent to us for review early last year. Their primal rage and energetic, busy atmospheres were intriguing back then already, even if the product as a whole suffered from questionable production and lack of variety overall. Now the band are back with their first 'real' EP, "AlienHate", and they have, paradoxically, both improved and gotten a lot worse.

Good news first, so lets start with where Bioscrape have improved. Their instrumental landscape has always leaned towards nu-metal/industrial quite a bit, but here their Pantera-influenced riffs stand out better and are more interesting than before, and at the same time the annoying nu-metal clichés are (mostly) removed. There are still a few parts where their guitars buzz in a way that koRn's did about a decade ago (think "Freak On A Leash" type of stuff here), but they're mostly aggro/violence-metal type of stuff now. That's a good tell of improved songwriting right there. Additionally, I've always had a thing for their ravaging vocalist who has one of the coarsest, yet most powerful screams I've come across. This time around he's been able to vary his expression somewhat, so instead of the monotonous screech there are a few clean/spoken word passages and experimentations with different pitches, all things I welcome with open arms to their sound. Not to worry though, if you liked their vocalist's grating scream before, there's still plenty of that to be found throughout the disc.

Now the bad news is that the production has gone from questionable to absolutely deplorable. I have no clue what happened with the sound levels here, but if I was playing aggressive music like Bioscrape are, I sure as hell would make sure that it doesn't sound like you're listening to the band playing live while standing OUTSIDE of the club. Because for some reason, Bioscrape have elected to use production that both makes their sound hollow and distant, both definite no-no's when it comes to music production if you ask, well, anyone really. This makes it immensely hard to judge any of the songs properly, as I'm struggling to hear what's going on even though I crank up the volume to the maximum. As far as I can remember from someone much more wiser than me in music production saying, the difference between unmastered and mastered is massive, but I didn't realise it could be this massive. In the end this has the effect of pushing their potential fans away before they even began listening. So while the band's songwriting has taken a few steps forward, the current overall quality of the EP isn't any better than the original - in fact it's worse. That being said, though, I'm still convinced that these guys can pull it off, they just need some time.


Download: Deconstruction
For the fans of: koRn, Mudvayne, Pantera
Listen: Myspace

Release date November 2008

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