Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Review: Car Bomb - “Centralia”

I first heard about Car Bomb from a positive review of their demo. I then met the guitarist a few months later at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival giving out the very same demo. I spoke to the guitarist, and how the band didn’t want to get signed, so imagine my surprise several more months later when I found out they signed to Relapse.

Right from the start, Car Bomb wears their influences on their sleeve, those influences being Dillinger Escape Plan and Meshuggah, and even a little Faith No More. Unlike most Meshuggah Escape Plan style bands, Car Bomb actually use their influences to inspire some strange ideas. Centralia uses their influence blatantly about 1/8th to 1/4 of the time. From Meshhuggah, expect to hear polyrhythms, and string detuning styled riffs. From Dillinger Escape Plan come the clean jazz interludes, the strange runs and dissonant chord movements. From Faith No More comes the strange vocalisations, such as the vocal harmonies in “H5N1“, and something of a semi-rapped passage in “Solid Grey”.

Vocalist Michael Dafferner has an immediately recognizable voice, with his mostly mid range/slight high bark. He achieves most of his vocal variety more often with the rhythm he shouts at, rather than moving his scream higher or lower.

When the band isn’t making use of their influences, they don’t seem to fall in all the same traps most math/jazz/tech/spazz/core bands do. There’s the odd strange guitar run or smashing of a dissonant chord, but “Centrailia” isn’t teeming with those same elements the whole time. What the band instead prefers to do is move around with staccato start and stop style shifts, and then throw in strange effects and bits of noise. The high jagged screechings from the guitar stabs at the eardrums, but every now and then the bits of ambient noise can go on for a bit too long, sometimes for more than just a few seconds right smack dab in the middle of a song.

In the end, Car Bomb hasn’t quite managed to pull off a masterpiece. The songwriting of this style of music can be difficult to mould into a whole cohesive story with a definite beginning and ending. The influences they have are used to push themselves forward in a creative sense most of the time, but when they are showing off their influences, it’s not subtle. In all, a very decent first album, and a band to watch, but I feel bigger things could be on their way.


Car Bomb
Car Bomb At MySpace
Car Bomb At PureVolume
Car Bomb At Relapse



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