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F U L L . R E V I E W S

Type: CD
Company: Worston Records
Release: 2004
Genre: Death
Reviewer: Eric Compton
Published: 11/12/2004
a decent band, but really aren't focused
1. Humiliation
2. Crawl
3. The Clown
4. Walk Away
5. Liar

I guess you could look at this as simply the band's first demo, with Sweden's Slowlife deciding to release their debut recording as a five song EP. Anytime a band releases something like this before their first full-length record, well I just look at that as a demo. So, let's treat it that way, shall we?

With this new EP, the band go through the motions of today's standard metalcore acts, not really doing anything beyond the boundaries, but still creating a quality listen I suppose. I keep saying this when I review this type of music. With the melodic death metal stuff, it has become so popular that a million bands and their mothers are trying it out. The only way to really sort through the stuff is to find a handful of bands that really do the sound justice. I'm talking about bands that can stay extremely tight, with an energetic delivery, and possibly trying new things along the way. Thus far I've seen about fifty to sixty bands trying this style, and only a dozen or so that have what it takes to consistently spin in my player from time to time. Slowlife are a decent band, but really aren't focused with this collection of tracks. With the band being from Stockholm, Sweden, I was expecting a full metal charge the likes of an Entombed or Dismember. Instead I get Beastie Boys and Rage Against The Machine??

I'm drawing the comparison to the Rage Against The Machine and Beastie Boys because of the vocals more than anything. Vocalist Kristoffer Osterman is very hardcore in his delivery, but he refuses to commit fully to that sound. Instead he sort of pipes up in a high...yelp, very much like the above bands' delivery. It is really irritating to me, and I can't seem to get past the vocals to enjoy much of anything else. The opening track, "Humiliation", caught my attention with it's traditional metal sound, ranging from bands like In Flames to Gardenian. Melodic guitar and fast, tight chugging captivate a sonic ride of death metal. However, as I mentioned before, the death vocals aren't on this ride. After the first cut is when things really start to go downhill for me. "Crawl" is really filler material, not really doing much beyond a simple little groove riff. Very basic in delivery, and at this point I questioned why it would follow such a strong opener. From there we get "The Clown", with it's groove friendly Meshuggah sound. "Walk Away" follows in much the same fashion as the prior track, just more down tuned rumblings with Osterman's annoying vocal delivery. The last track, "Liar", is lifted straight from the Tool way of thought, with a standard groove riff and not much else.

So there you have it, a negative review from me on this demo. But let me say this, keep in mind that my ears enjoy power metal, with plenty of flashy guitars, solo ear candy, and a traditional soundscape from which to build. I don't particularly care for groups like Tool, Meshuggah, Mnemic, or any of the other "factory" metal acts out there. So who's to say someone into that stuff won't look at Slowlife as the next big thing? It is certainly a possibility, as I see comparisons to those groups. If you are a fan of that style, then by all means request this demo. If you like your melodic death to be more of the traditional caliber, then stay away from this stuff. Props to this Swedish act for not sounding traditional, but to my ears Slowlife will have a Shortlife.
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

Eric Compton11/12/2004


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