Well, being a hardcore fan, I don’t find much wrong with what these guys are doing, and in today’s realm of metal they are modern, both in attack and tricks.
OK, but we’re not talking Meshuggah here, or Gojira, we’re talking Vision Of Disorder, screamo vocals and changing tempo riffs and drums. Having reviewed VOD’s the cursed remain cursed gig earlier this year I can hear the similarities, and there are many, but I won’t do that here, it doesn’t do justice to these guys. The Sluts are just fucking out and out awesome.
I will admit to also not being a massive fan of endless screamo vocals, unless they’re done incredibly well or the music is not interesting enough to provide a foundation to support an endless “graaaar”. With the Cowboys, in my book they are sinister enough, melodic enough, powerful enough and exciting enough to do this. And do it with class.
Skull Crusher is the stand out track for me – a pure basic introduction to great playing, a wonderful mix of obscure playing, great hooky sinister melodies from the second guitar, and best of all – the production. All the songs sit incredibly well in the mix, maybe at times too well edited (can you do it live guys?!!) but I’m very impressed, and from someone who seriously digs Vision Of Disorder, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson and Miles Davis, that’s a tall order.
The albums intro B.T.K. starts with a woman being subjected to a gagged whimper and scream that lasts 2 minutes long, and is not boring. It’s scary. If I was in a car and people heard it, they’d all stop and look and call the police – it works. The instant entrance into the full-on Asylum Breakout is welcome and the playing and guitar attack is instantly grabbing. One thing that grabbed me the first time I heard this album (and yes, I’ve done 2-3 listens because I want to, a good sign) was the guitar ENERGY. EPIC stuff, even considering the realms of Dillinger Escape Plan or the best guitar in Metal and Hardcore, it is brilliant metal rhythm guitar going on here, some of the best I’ve heard and with riffs galore. It’s just great, pure hardcore punk metal. Live, this would blow your head off for sure. Great guitar double play going on in a truly sinister manner that never bores.
I will Hunt You Down, the 3rd track is no less epic. I had to put my headphones on because the relentlessness of it would get me thrown out of my flat. I did it anyway, it was worth it. At first it reminded me of what Marilyn Manson should sound like or would sound like if he was truly authentic – no subservient pondering here, simple in between your eyes stuff. If they deliver live it would most probably satisfy any Motorhead fan on vocals alone. I don’t need to buy a horror film this month, I’ll listen to this instead….”Run….Run…Run” ……….”Die …Die…Die….not so tough”.
What a rush! This is in my top 3 for delivery and arrangement of any track this year.
Lusk is another collection of awesome and original riffs and intense drumming. I can’t imagine any hardcore fan not enjoying this, or any horror film fan for that matter – the album is designed like a collection of great horror films with the sound turned up and the picture turned off – you can shit yourself just by listening to the music.
Must be Broken opens with a brutal riff, and considering I don’t go for relentless screamo vocs, I can’t imagine anything else here. I almost get thrown out of my flat again – it needs to be played LOUD! This is the modern day parents of Motorhead having spawned the child of Dillinger and Metallica. The outro just makes it work so well.
Punk metal hardcore is the order of the day for Criminal. Intense, relenntless and metronomic perfection, delivering atonal stabs and riffs that are aching to burst. The arrangement is again sublime – not for the faint headed – you have to like hardcore for this, it’s just pure hardcore done in a modern manner – to the point, with “fuck you” written all over it.
Up next here was an unexpected homage to so much in the metal world, Purify By Fire is awesome. It holds the demonic leanings of metal as I know, but just as I was getting into it, it switched into hardcore again, so to me this can only be some type of a homage – it would get everyone head banging if they know who Maiden are or Deep Purple, just done by young guys who decided to replace their coffee with speed, acid and a gun to let you know they are there…
…and the slide into This Hate is great production and almost makes me think it’s part of the same film..oh sorry, track. This is a man chasing someone down a hill with knives. Let me tell you that is EXACTLY what it sounds like. The plodding is intense, the imagery is dark, the playing is frenetic, the playing top-notch. At this point the band are well out of control and if you missed the point of it all, well you’ll just have to start again won’t you. This is made for no relaxed man. With riffs and tempos being revisited and thrown around throughout the album, this would be a brutal sweat sodden live gig. The plundering from the grooves is exciting and done so very well.
A much needed respite starts Gates Of Perdition. First time I heard it I thought it was wet, but it’s so needed at this point if you listen to the album from start to end – this is an INTENSE album. The band jump in with a gruesome and chunky riff, followed by the almost trade mark screamo vocals, this time complimented with oratory vocals at times. Again, the melody by the guitars and the arrangement are first rate, coming in only as and when necessary. Another sinister story being laid out for you to witness. This is a great story in a song. Remember though that the story ends with a chase and this is in no way lost here – the ending is an immense pick-me-up.
If you wanted a name for a modern day horror film Life, Death and it’s painful intervening period says it all I’d say, the 11th track. This is Metallica, FNM, VOD and Strapping Young lad sharing a dorm. This is intelligent production, riffage and syncopated playing complimented with great riffs and atonal attitude. It goes by fast.
The hand of death, parts 1 and 2 follow in separate songs, and for me they are good enough as an EP by themselves. They deserve a major record deal just based on these two songs. This caters for every metal listener I can think of. Epic riffs galore, heavy and plodding, sinister, exciting, dark empty spaces, intensity, thrash, dismantling – damn, this is almighty stuff. Very technical but not at the same time – I’d say this is the Cowboys trademark above all others, technically brilliant but it just isn’t too much. Albeit I did read a review from someone who gave the album a 4 rating for it being too technical – mate, you got to stop comparing this to Britney Spears – this is the real deal. Amazing arrangement and the metal guitar rhythm playing is some of the best I’ve ever heard.
The last track Backdraft is such a great metal riff to start with, if you don’t think Black Sabbath here then you need to listen to less Britney also. The last riff is just great, they aren’t here to prove themselves on this last track, they don’t need to.
This album is 57 minutes of a particular vibe, one that is recognizing so much of its genres past, but is delivered in a very intense and just plain fuck you manner. Vocals need improving but for me that was a slight annoyance, that’s all. This is the posturing of LA metal, with the “LA” thrown away and relocated to La Haine in Paris and played through New Yorks best PA system to a crowd of speed injected fans whose father brought them up listening to Black Sabbath, Vision Of Disorder and Metallica.
An awesome debut, and to be honest the only down side is that the vocals are not melodious at all, but I never noticed until the end when I realised my heart was pumping too fast. This will be hard for them to top. The ending is so different to the start, but it’s different, and it’s awesome, and for me that’s enough to give this album a 9.0.
I’d see the Dead Cowboy’s Sluts live at the drop of a hat. But, In the mean time, I now have to find another flat.