If you have an affection towards anything metal, you usually give credit to those acts who don't try to do anything new with the genre. Sure, it seems strange to pat people on the back who don't try to stray from the beaten path, but there's a appreciation, dare I say, a necessity for such acts. Change is cool and all, but if it isn't needed, why try to do it in the first place? I think Imprisoned go this note with their EP, The Other Side Of Hell.
Imprisoned hails from Melbourne, Australia, yet another indicator that the country is one to watch for some of the best new music coming out. Combining elements of black metal and hardcore, Imprisoned remains old school while being able to stay rooted in a modern sound. There seems to be a sway in the direction of hardcore here, and their appreciation of the genre is clearly evident throughout the EP. If that comes across
as a complaint, it's not, more so a joyous observation.
"Noose Neck", which starts out the EP, builds up its eerie momentum to deliver a solid, quick paced number that instantly gives the band an identity. It has all the tropes of the metal/hardcore combo you've come to expect: Terrific breakdowns, double bass pedal galore and trudging guitar riffs that would make every metalhead scream with glee (Though I doubt they'd ever admit to screaming in glee). "Sheol", keeps the pace going strong, getting full on thrash at points but slapping you in the face with breakdowns, forcing you to remember what it is you're really listening to.
"Guilty" is solid, and the way the beat deteriorates and changes tone at the end is a great addition. It's amazingly paced and structured, and the fact that the song is really only two and a half minutes long makes you wonder what these guys could do with a five minute track (Though I doubt they want to go the epic route). "The Blackening" is simply a musical showcase, and too quick a song to really warrant addition on to the EP and "War Is Me", while not faltering musically, suffers from a bit too much emphasis on the drums thematically. The guys clearly show a knack for brutality in "War Is Me", but it feels almost sparse when compared to the other songs guitar and bass ridden parts. A small complaint, but one I felt mentioning.
The Other Side Of Hell is a very solid EP, delivering the first worthwhile thing I've listened to this year. While there are a few structural issues littered about, it never does anything to ruin the overall effect these guys have delivered here. If this is indeed the other side of hell, sign me up. - Shane
Check out the EP here: http://imprisoned.bandcamp.com/album/the-other-side-of-hell