Album Review: SEPTA Destroyer
If you're a regular reader of Metal Injection, you're almost certainly familiar with the Ten Second Song YouTube account. It's run by Anthony Vincent, a guy from New York who covers popular songs in the styles of multiple singers. His videos are massively popular, having racked up tens of millions of views. He's gotten coverage here because he periodically throws imitations of metal artists into the mix; he can do an especially good Peter Steele impersonation. The Ukrainian band Septa is sort of like Anthony Vincent but they write their own songs and the imitations they do are only of nü-metal bands from the 90s and early 2000s.
There's nothing wrong with bands wearing their influences on their sleeveless battle jackets, but almost all of Septa's material on Destroyer verges on outright identity theft. It's easy enough to listen to each song on the album and pick out which band Septa is imitating. The most obvious band that's being aped here is Deftones. Every song contains some form of Deftones worship. There are plenty of Around the Fur style angular riffs throughout the album, and the singer, Eugene Tymchyk, does his best Chino Moreno imitation at every opportunity.
Aside from Deftones, Septa also draws heavily from Faith No More's Mike Patton. Tymchyk tries his hardest to imitate Patton, but with only minor success. He doesn't posses a vocal range anywhere near Patton's, and he lacks the singer's crazy expressiveness, but he still manages an imitation serviceable enough to be recognizable. While not as flagrant as the previous examples, you can also hear shades of Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and generic, post-millenial metalcore; think Killswitch Engage or God Forbid. Honestly, the music itself doesn't necessarily reflect these influences so much as the vocal performance. Musically, nearly everything is taken from Deftones or a related project. If that sounds wierd to you, rest assured it is. If you can imagine Marilyn Manson's sinister sounding vocal fry layered over Crosses (†††) style witch house beats, that's essentially what the beginning of "Unmaker Omega" sounds like. Later in the song, when some metalcore guitars are added to the mix, Tymchyk adopts an almost Serj Tankian style of singing for a bit.
None of these stylistic detours make much sense, and they don't flow together at all. The entire album sounds like a sonic Frankenstein's monster. It's a bunch of disparate parts sewn together with little regard for song structure. The changes in tone, when they happen, are so jolting that you can easily make a chart of each band Septa is aping on each track. For example, "Destroyer, Pt. 2" begins with some generic metalcore riffing and screaming. A minute into the song the band abruptly switches to flagrant Deftones imitation. After another minute they switch to Faith No More. Every song on the album is like this. It gets mind numbing quickly. There are some decent tracks, but they're short and few and far between. "I, Havok" is a mellow, synth driven track that recalls Team Sleep, and the album closing "Destroyer, Pt. 5" does some interesting things with multi-tracked vocal harmonies, but that's about it. Neither track exceeds a 3 minute run time either, so by the time you're starting to appreciate the music it ends.
Destroyer is a weird album, and there's no telling who it's going to appeal to. If you're a die hard fan of nü-metal or Deftones it might be up your alley, but you probably need to be a pretty serious fanboy to listen more than once. Fortunately, the album is available to stream and as a pay-what-you-want download on Bandcamp, so the price for admission is low.