Firstly, what a fucking great name for a metal band…Skulldriver….fantastic stuff, up there with Parasitic Ejaculation, Anal Cunt and Cannibal Corpse in self determinism. Band names that evoke and accurately paint of picture as to what you’re likely to experience in musical terms when likening musical flavour to a band name. Well it would be if this debut EP from Finland’s Skulldriver were to deliver on the promise that their name promises. Short answer is that it doesn’t. I know where this is coming from, I really do, and you can smell this coming from a mile off wearing, as it does, its influences not just on its sleeves but on its hoody, battle jacket, socks, pants, t-shirt, camo shorts, shoes, hat, gloves, scarf, glasses and overcoat. If that last sentence lathers on the hyperbole a little thick then I make no apology for it. If you were to place Corrosion Of Conformity, Pantera, Down, Pantera, Slipknot, Coal Chamber, Pantera, Spineshank and Pantera into an industrial sized blender, the resulting pulpy milkshake would smell, taste and look like Skulldriver.
Now, before you start, there is nothing wrong with taking your musical cues from your heroes that would be considered part of the NWOAHM (New Wave of American Heavy Metal) movement that dumped it’s beautifully smelly waste over our shores 10 years ago or so. At the time, it all sounded ripe in a good way, engaging and new. It may have re-engineered familiar heavy metal tropes, but it was energising (mostly) and Lamb of God were at the vanguard of said movement and turned out several great albums over the years. But it came to me in a smoke-filled arena in Madrid last November, a sudden realisation as we saw off the remnants of a sad and tired looking Anthrax cover band masquerading as thrash metal legends who had been blown off stage by Floridian geniuses Obituary, that as LOG started in on their perfunctory support set to Slayer’s lengthy farewell tour, that this type of syncopated, heavily stylised NWOAHM metal was fucking boring. I say that as a LOG fan, but it was deathly dull, that necessitated a trip to the bar via the merch stand. Familiarity breeds contempt so they say, and because LOG and their acolytes are prolific tourers, it’s to be expected.
Back to the point of this review and ‘L.D.C.’ is a 4-song collection of badly produced, adequately played Pantera/LOG inspired boring, mundane metal that is as instantly forgettable as it is poorly conceived. It’s not an enjoyable task, taking something like this to the proverbial cleaners, but I can’t see who this will appeal to, given the plethora of other bands around the world that have been peddling this genre with more quality and tenure. The fact that the production is flat and the songs are vanilla and without invention only piles the evidence into the column marked ‘This isn’t very good’. On the plus side, I can only applaud Skulldriver and recognise the effort, time and energy that goes into being a band and producing songs, getting out there and playing live but this release is about 10 years too late and in my humble opinions struggle to find anyone that would possibly be interested in listening to it.
(2/10 Nick Griffiths)