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On Deadweight Slagduster are so close and yet so far.


Album Review: SLAGDUSTER Deadweight

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I frequently write about the importance of album art in the introductions of these reviews and how they can entrance you and invite you into exciting sound worlds. Sometimes though the music doesn't live up to the album art, an unfortunate reality which has led to countless frustrated hours for many of us. Such is the case with Slagdusters latest effort, Deadweight. This is an album that has riffs upon riffs to be sure, and a ton of great ones, but is frequently shot down by sub-par production and poor vocal execution. It's an example of how a band can get so close and yet be so far. While there certainly some cool things to explore here and there I certainly feel like Slagduster are capable of a lot more and need to push beyond their current limitations to embrace their full potential. The thing is, Deadweight is a record that shows off an incredible amount of talent, and yet doesn't quite take the time to properly exploit it.

Now before really sinking my teeth into the flaws of this record I do want to point out that a lot of the compositions here are great. The bands ability to layer solos on top of powerful Meshuggah-esque riffs is exciting. This is a far cry from the djent of yesteryear but rather something far more complicated with thrilling melodies and unpredictable rhythms. The problem with Deadweight is that as good as the music might be, the My First Death Metal Band (TM) vocals are simply impossible to get around. While I'm all about atypical extreme metal vocals, some are just… not good… not for the bands music or for any extreme band in general. This is my frustration with Slagduster and there's no getting around it. When it's compounded with the simple fact that the mix, going beyond the vocals is a little bit under wrought you quickly start to realize that Slagduster is not the band that you so badly want them to be. Almost all of the elements are there but they still haven't quite been able to realize what that they could be.

I think what makes Deadweight so frustrating is that when the band just goes for it instrumentally they are fucking killer. One need look no further than the bridge on 'Cheer Up Clown' to realize that Slagduster is a musical force to be reckoned with. Then the vocals kick in and any sympathy that the band was able to garner in its brief moments of brilliance is immediately quashed. I hate to shit on the singer like this, but his Anselmo cum goregrind vocal style simply isn't cutting it. This is a group who were clearly always meant to be a top notch instrumental band and one who could provide a strong and unique evolution on the work of the extreme prog bands of generations past. I just want to see them moving past their current limitation and embracing the greatness that so clearly lies right beneath the surface.

Score: 5/10

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