5 Star Grave

Corpse Breed Syndrome

Written by: PP on 06/03/2009 16:41:26

Even though it's seldom to see a band rise from the Italian metal scene to international fame, the scene down there is very active, evident in the records that we receive almost on a weekly basis from the country. I'm starting to have a feeling that soon we've reviewed every single Italian metal band in existence. Anyway, the next victims--since most Italian metal releases sent this way have been absolutely shite--are 5 Star Grave (cool name by the way) and their debut album "Corpse Breed Syndrome" (not so cool name).

Musically, 5 Star Grave dance on the thin line between melodic death metal in the vein of Children of Bodom and straight forward metalcore. Translating that into practice, "Corpse Breed Syndrome" is full of melodic riffing and high-pitch keyboard, backed by a Alexi Laiho-inspired shrieking vocalist. It also means that the band occasionally treads deep enough into blast-beats of melodeath to grant them the genre categorization, but most of their offering can be categorized as 'loose' metalcore. What does 'loose' metalcore mean? You know how bands like All That Remains and Parkway Drive sound exceptionally tight in the execution of their riffs? Imagine the same type of guitar sound, only played less tightly, resulting in a spacier soundscape overall. That might not sound good on paper, and it shouldn't sound good in reality either, but for some reason it fits nicely to the sound of "Corpse Breed Syndrome" - it allows both the guitars and the vocals to become sloppier and thus adds a degree of integrity, a 'garage recording' feel to the sound if you will.

The first four tracks impress easily. "In Bed With The Dead" has a nice techno-keyboard/riff dynamic (yes, the lyrics are horror movie inspired), and "Slightly Slutty Behaviour" features a lead riff that doesn't get old even after several repeat listens. "Ain't That Saint" would be my favorite on the record because it combines the high-energy keyboard melody with catchy verses and choruses, but the porn star moan samples thrown in randomly ruin the song for me. What on earth is the purpose of those!?

But from about track five onwards, the formula starts repeating itself. The vocalist has the same shriek throughout the entire album, so that starts getting a bit monotonous, and since the keyboards don't really deviate from the uptempo techno/dance mix either, the only thing left are the choruses, which aren't as catchy as earlier on the album.

That being said, it's hard to criticize the album any further, considering almost all songs are fairly decent here with a couple of really good ones in the bag as well. Couple that with the fact that this isn't your typical run of the mill metalcore, but actually has a pinch of originality in the sound in the form of the keyboard/riff/shriek combo that sometimes even takes a punk-ish vibe to it, it'd be overly harsh to award these guys any lower grade than

Download: Ain't That Saint, Slightly Slutty Behaviour, Cut You Out
For the fans of: Children Of Bodom, Red Descending
Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.11.2008

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