We all have artists we love, artists we want to emulate. That's part of what makes each person's music unique: we bring in elements of a wide array of influences, and the music we create is decidedly original. That's why two artists can be in the same genre and sound almost nothing alike. Of course, sometimes a band can get so enamoured with another artist that they seek to emulate them entirely. But generally this is the exception, rather than the rule.
I bring this up because Portuguese metal act Confront Hate aren't merely in love with another band; they're basically <BEGIN METAPHOR DIGRESSION> the professional stalkers of djent-father Gojira (who, for the sake of this extended metaphor, will be represented by a large, masculine whale). These guys don't just show up to the shows at Sea World and cheer happily as Gojira does a soaring backflip or happily eats a fish from the arm of his trainer. They don't even stop at scrubbing the graffiti off of the side his tank and then deciding to hop in, swimming majestically alongside him in the cold, seafood-tinged water. No, Confront Hate are so in love with this whale that they spend their evenings writing Gojira self-insertion slash fiction while living in a rubber bubble at the bottom of its tank, gazing upwards every so often with a sense of longing in his eyes; wanting, lusting, needing to be closer, but knowing, ever so sadly, that it can not be; crying himself gently to sleep at night underneath whale-skin blankets on his bed, reciting the exact distance, in AUs, from the planet Mars to the star Sirius, over, and over, and over again.
My point is <END METAPHOR DIGRESSION> that Confront Hate aren't exactly trying to do anything original with their music on their debut album, Diabolical Disguise of Madness. Oh sure, the opening track, “Sokerna” lulls you into a false sense of security with its enjoyable, yet smooth, playing through odd times. But as soon as the vocals kick in on the second track, “Hate Will Never Die,” you know that these guys really aren't here to do anything drastically new. From that point on, it's almost entirely recycled riffs and predictable songwriting. Don't get me wrong, their work isn't terrible. It just reeks so strongly of trying to rip off another band that, even when they do hit upon some stronger parts, it leaves a terrible aftertaste of unoriginality in your, er, ears. It's like drinking Pepsi instead of Coca Cola; sure, it's still tasty, and you can tell it has a similar taste, but if you're honest with yourself, it tastes distinctly inferior.
Again, Confront Hate really do hit on some extremely creative parts at times. The guitar solo in “New Divine Shadow” blew me away when I heard it. It's one of the finest-crafted moments in metal I've heard in a long time, channelling the spirit of Meshuggah through its elaborate backing riffs and the sweetly done lead guitar. There is also the occasional winner amongst their riffs, notably the ending part of “Conception.” But these moments are not nearly numerous enough to make Diabolical Disguise of Madness an album worth listening to on its own merits.
Honestly, if you're just looking for some more vaguely-progressive death metal to listen to, you could do worse than these guys. They have the skill and the potential to be a good band, and for many fans that is more than enough to satiate their watering mouths. For the discerning ear, however, you'd be better off actually listening to Gojira. Now, where the hell did I leave my copy of The Way of All Flesh?
4.5 / 10
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