Ekotren - "Light The Fire" (CD)
"Light The Fire" track listing:
1. Light The Fire
2. Paper Thin
4. Tables Have Turned
6. Nothing Left
8. Death Blanket
9. Point Of View
10. Needed You More
Reviewed by Diamond Oz on March 8, 2008
Ekotren may have received positive feedback for their debut EP, "The Tables Have Turned," but their full-length debut, "Light The Fire," is less than impressive. The band is a hybrid of metalcore and nu-metal, two of the most criticized genres in heavy music in recent times; so from the start, they're fighting the odds and critics. If Ekotren wants to win that fight, however, they're going to have to come with a bigger arsenal than "Light the Fire."
The album starts with the title track and an intro which makes you think you're not listening to an album, but rather watching a Rocky movie, since all you can hear is the sound of a manager shouting things like "Slip the uppercut!” During the whole intro, you're just expecting to hear someone shout "You're a bum!" any second. The music in the title track follows standard metalcore patterns (breakdowns, drum intro, etc.), and just listening to it, you can picture kids with trucker hats throwing their arms and legs about, ruining a good mosh pit. This song is really not a good intro to the album.
The track after this, "Paper Thin," is a different story, at least in terms of an intro. It begins with a really cool guitar solo, reminiscent of solos from “Master Of Puppets” era Metallica, and after the solo the whole band comes in with a really epic sound that shows a lot of promise. But then Ekotren seemingly decides to give up on that idea, as the music grinds to a halt and goes from being a song with good diversity to a relatively good metalcore song. The chorus is a little messy and mixes both the screams and clean vocals, which unfortunately isn't the frontman’s strong point. All in all, the song isn't bad and is probably one of the best on the album.
One track that caught my ears was "Tables Have Turned." This song isn't really anything special, but for some reason, stands out amongst the other tracks. This follows more of a sound you'd expect from "Scars" era SOiL instead of metalcore (minus the vocals). It has a good bounce to it and a relatively fun feel. Along with "Paper Thin," this song is one of the best on the record. It has some really good elements to it and a different sound than the rest of the CD.
There isn't, in all honesty, much to say about the rest of the album. Most of the songs follow a set pattern, and half way through it, you're waiting for a change which sadly doesn't come until the penultimate song, "Needed You More." This is actually more of a ballad than anything. It's a song with some really good melodies, and the chorus is almost catchy. There's one song after this, "Chupacabra," which sounds promising enough but wastes a good twenty seconds with an intro containing goat sounds. I realize that's part of the deal with the title and everything, but when you put that intro with the title and the lyrics, it makes the song sound extremely cheesy. The song itself is a poor way to finish the album; it may possibly have worked better as the opener but even then it wouldn't be much better.
One thing that really bothers me about this album is the language. I've never been offended by swearing, and I don't have a particularly negative view of bad language in music, or in general, but I really don't like it when the swearing is rampant in music, and that's a real problem on "Light the Fire." The swearing seems as though it's just there to seem more aggressive and give an outlet to teenage kids who are angry but have no idea why. The swearing in this reminds me of latter-day Slayer albums when they started swearing more and it makes me wonder, "What's the point?" A little bit of swearing doesn't hurt, especially in a hardcore fashion of vocal delivery, but Ekotren really does overkill it. If you don't like bad language (which I doubt is much of a problem for our readers and metal fans in general), don't pick this CD up.
In closing, Ekotren does show some real talent, there's no argument in that. However, "Light the Fire" is not a good start. It will likely throw them into the pile of metalcore that in a few years will hardly be touched again. A mediocre album from a promising band.
Highs: Some great melodies and some cool drum work.
Lows: Too many useless intros to the songs and a lack of originality.
Bottom line: For die hard fans of metalcore and hardcore, but Ekotren fans shouldn't expect this album to thrust them into the same league as Hatebreed and Lamb Of God in terms of popularity.
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