"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Slumlord Philadelphia - "1347 AD" (CD)

Slumlord Philadelphia - "1347 AD" CD cover image

"1347 AD" track listing:

1. Razorback
2. Tex Cobb
3. Cara Quemada
4. Why Are You In My Way
5. Underbite
6. OP:MF
8. Hundred Miles
9. This Is The Life
10. Bad Wire
11. Use Me
12. Eviscerate the DJ

Reviewed by on November 28, 2011

"The problem, quite frankly, is that this progressive metal band has progressed just a bit too far from conventional song structure, resulting an an album with too many twists and turns to ever allow the listener to truly acclimate to what's going on."

There's plenty of technical skill on display on Slumlord Philadelphia's "1347 AD." The problem, quite frankly, is that this progressive metal band has progressed just a bit too far from conventional song structure, resulting an an album with too many twists and turns to ever allow the listener to truly acclimate to what's going on.

Giving credit where credit's due, one has to compliment the band's instrumental chops. Bassist Kevin Radar Cunningham delivers a particularly potent part to "Tex Cobb," with chords that are more Les Claypool than Lemmy. The lyrics, consisting mostly of snippets from interviews with the famous fighter, are among the most clever on the album.

When the band allows a groove room to grow — as it does in "Cara Quamada" — the results can be impressive. More often than not, though, the band is changing directions on a dime, as it does on tracks like "OP:MF" and "This Is The Life," with Ryan Kozar's drums providing more confusion than bedrock rhythm. That may be intentional, but when it happens on song after song, the cumulative effect is more one of confusion than of admiration for the skill it takes to do so.

All that said, the cover of Bill Withers' "Use Me" proves that the band is quite capable of rocking out a more straightforward tune. A little more of that would've gone a long way toward making this album a more listenable experience.

The production values on the disc are so-so, with the drums feeling quite a bit tinny and Kermit Lyman's guitar parts sometimes disappearing behind a wall of bass and drums.

Prog-rock fans may enjoy the many twists and turns of Slumlord Philadelphia's "1347 AD." Those looking for a less experimental experience might want to look elsewhere.

Highs: "Tex Cobb," "Use Me."

Lows: A few too many twists and turns make for a discombobulated listening experience.

Bottom line: Prog-rock fans may enjoy this one, but there are too many twists and turns for casual listeners.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)