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Meris - "Abandon All" (CD)

Meris - "Abandon All" CD cover image

"Abandon All" track listing:

1. Blood Of The Bison
2. Distortionist
3. Doris
4. Beloved Oblivion
5. Another Stupid Song
6. Mutually Assured Destruction
7. Dungeons
8. Agony And Ecstacy
9. As You Wish
10. Rid Me Of Misery

Reviewed by on March 6, 2011

"It isn't that 'Abandon All' is bad, it's just that much of it simply isn't very memorable."

There's a lot going on on Meris' "Abandon All," ranging from moments of poppy, punk-infused material to "Load"-era Metallica riffs and guitar and drum parts that bring Mastodon to mind. It's regrettable, though, that with so much thrown at the wall, very little of it manages to stick. It isn't that "Abandon All" is bad, it's just that much of it simply isn't very memorable.

Instrumentally, this California-based trio definitely brings some impressive skills. Sean Hugunin's vocals are more than adequate to the task in hand, and his intricate guitar playing on tracks like "Dungeons" and the instrumental "Agony And Ecstasy" is quite impressive.

Drummer Brad Roberts contributes some excellent fills on tracks like the Mastodon-flavored "As You Wish" and the aforementioned "Dungeons." Eli Atkinson's bass-playing effectively bridges the melodic gap between Roberts and Hugunin.

After a promising start with "Blood Of The Bison," things go a bit south with tracks like the overly simple "Distortionist," which is reminiscent of Metallica in the mid-1990s, as is the sludgy "Doris." "Beloved Oblivion" has an almost punk-rock feel in places. The album reaches its nadir with "Another Stupid Song," which tries a bit too hard for irony with its "we are the rock stars" chorus.

Things get better in the last half, with the more pronounced Mastodon feel making its way into "Mutually Assured Destruction," "Dungeons" and "As You Wish." The speedy "Rid Me Of Misery" is an OK ender, with Hugunin definitely channeling James Hetfield in the vocals.

This isn't a bad album by any means, but it is a somewhat frustrating one. Excellent musicianship goes a long way toward rehabilitating the band's lack of memorable riffs and melodies, but the fact of the matter is that there's not much on Meris' "Abandon All" that will stick with listeners.

Highs: "Dungeons," "Blood Of The Bison" and "Agony And Ecstasy"

Lows: A lack of memorable riffs and melodies.

Bottom line: Considerable instrumental skills can't quite overcome some lackluster songwriting.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)