26 Feb 2015
Experimentation is the essence of progress. Some musicians take this to heart and always seek to push boundaries, and some are content to just fine tune what has been done before. What is worth remembering is that experimenting with no real goal or purpose probably won't yield any usable results.
My initial reaction to Downwards by Rape on Mind was something along the lines of "huh, I wonder where this is going". These notions of experimentalism were however quickly exchanged with a feeling of disappointment. Downwards starts out with some atmospheric saxophone, which I tought was pretty interesting, bringing to mind darkjazz groups like Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation. But I found that these fleeting moments of intrigue were few and brief. Before long the music of Rape on Mind degrades into mindless chugs with late-era Max Cavalera vocals, like a thugged-out Soulfly. To me, Downwards seems like a rancid misinterpretation of what death metal and grindcore are about, jazzed up with aweful groove-core elements.
It's not like chugging riffs are the bane of all that is holy. But chugs only work if they're used as interludes between more meaningful songwriting. Otherwise the music will just be an amorphous mass of start-stop pseudo-riffs with no real merrit. Deathcore bands usually take the heat for being too chuggy, using downtuned strums at irregular intervals at every possible climax, but at least most deathcore has climaxes, varying intensity and temper. Instead, Rape on Mind just jerks around on the floor in a half-hour seizure to the sound of a malfunctioning jackhammer, making even the simplest deathcore acts seem like gracious ballets.
Perhaps I'm being unfair. The second half of Downwards shows a more varied approach to songwriting, and bands like Portal (Which I quite like) have very little variation in intensity, and their music is exactly just an amorphous mass of riffs. But at least their music has wanderlust, purpose and atmosphere, which is something that can't be said of this Polish group. Keep in mind that I don't particularly care for this kind of music at all, so take that into consideration whilst reading this. But I think Downwards by Rape on Mind is complete rubbish. 4/10 guitars.
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8. Break or be Broken
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