Friday, December 20, 2013

Relentless - Souls of Charon

“Souls of Charon” by Relentless is a very unpolished doom metal album with clean reverberated female vocals that lend a slight occult rock vibe while also lending a very strong vibe of amateurism and incompetence. Emotionless, bored, off-key, shaky, and even cringeworthy at times; these vocals destroy what would otherwise be a relatively suitable release. As the singer mumbles along, it is almost the kind of performance you can tune out, as if Relentless were playing in a bar while the listener is far away from the stage and attempting to engage in conversation. Any such conversation would at times come to a screeching halt because vocalist Carlee Jackson often slips from bored to piercingly inadequate. This is especially true on “Forever Damned” where the vocals are painfully strained and the lyrics “Take my hand and follow me We’ll leave this place of misery” are absolutely butchered as the vocalist tries and fails to hit notes well above her mumble-register range. Even later in this song, as in most places on “Souls of Charon,” one can easily imagine that the lyrics are “meh meh bleh bleh meh” since the vocals are always mumbled and almost never articulated. One strikingly incongruous lyrical moment is towards the end of the album with the line “trapped for eternity,” a bold statement, starkly contrasted by vocals disinterestedly delivered as if those words mean nothing. At one point in the album the vocals even start off with some lyrics that appear later in the song and nervously fade away abruptly. Maybe Carlee missed her cue and the band never bothered to edit the track or ran out of time to re-record it?

Vocals aside, that band has a rather doomy overall flavor and approach and the guitar riffs and solos are frequently in the traditional metal vein. The song structures are also a bit rock influenced, yet the consistent strumming of the same handful of chords and over-reliance on repetition may instead indicate amateurism. Things are as if the band hasn’t been writing music long enough to recognize when to introduce changes or playing music long enough to get bored with repeating the same couple of notes for half of an entire song, e.g. “Better off Dead.” Along with the excess repetition, the songs also saunter along due to the conservative drumming, which is more interesting than a metronome would be, but infrequently anything more than that. The guitar solos could be much better and take cues from the singer, in that they are lacking enough emotion, although they are much more tolerable due to giving a semblance of hitting the appropriate notes. Guitar solos, and the tone as a whole, could also be improved because the band quite foolishly decided to hard pan the rhythm and solo tracks, which removes a lot of punch from the music. None of these other particular issues are major enough to make Relentless a bad band, but their current vocalist easily decides that question and moots other considerations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you're fucking retarded