Romeo Must Die-Hardships In Season
When the United Kingdom band Stampin’ Ground decided to call it a day in 2006 (after 11 years together) vocalist Adam "Bomb" Frakes-Sime and bassist Ben Frost (neither of whom were original members of Stampin' Ground to begin with if I remember correctly) decided to form a new band and thus Romeo Must Die was born. Picking up members Paul Fletcher - guitar, Samj Dawkins - guitar and Tom Winch - drums they released the EP Defined by Enemies in 2008. Their full length debut Hardships In Season was eighteen months in the making during which time the members of the group all seemed cursed and experienced an "onslaught of misfortune". While Defined by Enemies showed similarities to the hardcore/metalcore (and really thrash) sound of Stampin' Ground on their new album Rome Must Die tries to distance themselves from their former band. In their search to establish a new identity the group uses acoustic guitars (such as on the title track and albums closing number) and piano/keyboards as well as experiments with melody to craft their own style. While there are still moment that remind me of Stampin' Ground the majority of the music has a melodic/technical thrash sound. Honestly people the fact is really if this was a different time and age this would probably just be called thrash or maybe hardcore thrash. Why we have to have 1,000 different names for heavy metal is beyond me. But it is what it is and it's a new day so for those who must know Romeo Must Die could best be described as groove/metalcore/thrash although more thrash than anything. Despite the album cover art which makes you think that this is probably just another metalcore band (as well as the band's name) there is a lot here for thrash metal fans to sit back and enjoy. Sure, “Let Them Hate” might be groove metal born of Pantera but let me set the record straight that "Time... The Great Vivisector" is pure thrash and proud of it. You can here the influence that bands like Metallica,Slayer,Testament and Exodus has had on the band.“Survivors Club” is hardcore thrash. Falling somewhere between the Cro-Mags and Hatebreed I like it even if it does come of a tad like the younger (and much more pompous) attitude driven "hey look at me" metalcore bands of today. "Better Off Dead" is kicked in the gutter bass driven thrash with a hardcore pit bull attitude. “15 Minutes Of Shame” was a touch too metalcore disguised as thrash for me that said "Slow Motion Catastrophe" is modern thrash and proud of it. "Breathing Fire" is hardcore thrash taking a stab in the dark at despair filled angst. It does feature some nice metal riff age and soloing which I liked. "The Rust of Life" is catchy thrash metal that bounces along while "Narcissist" is just plain heavy. "All Life Ends In Failure" is again a number that would fit in well if you were to place it in any 90's thrash metal album. "New Beginnings" closes things off with another quick acoustic bit. All in all 49 minutes of melodic thrash played by guys who for all intensive purposes would otherwise be listed as a groove metal/hardcore act. Also, one last thing the copy I reviewed might not be the finished version. It seems as if the album is going to be re-mastered with more of an upfront sound expected. I didn't have a problem with the sound myself so it will be interesting to see what they do to make Hardships In Season stand out more. As it stands this was another example of why not to judge a band ny it's album art. This month you can get Hardships In Season with a copy of Metal Hammer's latest issue. It looks as if for once they have a band worth checking out as hard as that might be to believe!