Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Review: Death to Our Enemies - "Death to Our Enemies"

Death to Our Enemies sounds a lot like the name of a hardcore band, and well, they kind of are. But they don’t sound a lot like a hardcore band.

If a loose-fitting label must be applied to this Minneapolis three-piece, it’s gotta be some amalgamation of blues-tinged garage rock with dashes of monotone indie and occasional hardcore howls. Still, this blend is difficult to categorize, and even harder to imagine what kind of influences add up to such a concoction. Luckily their MySpace page does all the work, and in retrospect paints a fairly accurate picture of what a DTOE virgin would hear upon first listen: “The Stooges, T. Rex, Sonic Youth, Television, The Pixies, Hammerhead, The Melvins, Seawhores, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters & Black Sabbath.”

”Secret Handshake” gets things going with a bit of a Rocket from the Crypt (sans brass) heavy garage rock approach, with vocals that would sound more at home in Tennessee than the upper Midwest. “Karate Bike” follows with an infectious guitar lead and parallel vocal melody that works perfectly for two verses before being stifled by an excess of auxiliary percussion. In short: needs less cowbell. The drudgy downbeat “Hearts & Daggers” is surprisingly the strongest track, as the band is able to make the best use of their musical proficiencies, with airy chords and ethereal croons above a popping snare that wraps it all together. “Choke on It” gets the rock rolling again with a noisy minute-forty-five before transitioning into the fairly ho-hum hard rock of “Deadly Art of Ninja.” The two instrumentals on the disc are both fairly high-energy, with “The Wizard” buzzing with overdrive, while “Robot Robot” displays the intricate omni-tone instrumentals the band is capable of crafting.

Death to Our Enemies' self-titled release is far from sounding like a debut. Ambitious, aggressive and musically articulate, this band is certainly capable of doing big things with just some slight fine-tuning.

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