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Motherboar - "Raise the Death Toll" (CD)

Motherboar - "Raise the Death Toll" CD cover image

"Raise the Death Toll" track listing:

1. Ode to Swine
2. Raise the Death Toll
3. Get Inside
4. Thundadome
5. Imperial Lagerblayde
6. Dead by Dawn
7. Terrordactyl

Reviewed by on December 11, 2009

"One thing's for sure, these Boston-based guys know how to lay the rawk down thick and heavy on the opener, 'Ode to Swine.' "

It's obvious that the guys in Motherboar had a blast writing and recording their debut disc, "Raise the Death Toll." The album's a fun listen, if more than a little lightweight lyrically. Then again, when the band mixes sounds as diverse as Clutch, Mastodon and Motorhead, and mostly gets away with it, who cares how silly the lyrics get?

One thing's for sure, these Boston-based guys know how to lay the rawk down thick and heavy on the opener, "Ode to Swine." Guitarists Brian Connor and Pete Knipfing join with bass player Joe Grotto to create a sludgy riff reminiscent of Soundgarden's "Slaves and Bulldozers," while Kenny Irwin growls out the lyrics. Then the band shifts gears, with a fast, chugging riff that sacrifices little in the way of heaviness for speed (although I do believe you can hear the guitarists get a little ahead of the beat momentarily).

"Raise the Death Toll" has the band heading into Motorhead territory, with Irwin channeling Lemmy Kilmister vocally. Sure, the lyrics are silly, but you'll be moshing around your living room too much to care once this song hits your CD player. A guitar solo with more than a hint of blues in it gives the song some extra grit.

The similar-sounding "Thundadome" is fun, as is the delightfully titled "Imperial Lagerblayde," which reminds me a lot of "Leviathan"-era Mastodon. Only the most jaded of metal fans won't have a smile on their face as they rock out to the intentionally silly closer, "Terrordactyl."

On the other hand, two of the seven songs — accounting for about seven of the album's 25 minutes — do their best to kill the buzz. "Get Inside" is a slow slog that takes until about halfway through to get anywhere interesting. "Dead by Dawn" has an interesting opening riff, but you'll start to feel a little dizzy if you try to keep up with what's going on when Benny Grotto's drums come in.

One thing that is alternately enjoyable and maddening is the looseness with which this stoner rock outfit plays the songs. I mentioned the seeming sloppiness in "Ode to Swine" and "Dead by Dawn," but it's never far from the surface on many of the other songs.

Flawed but fun, Motherboar's "Raise the Death Toll" is a fairly solid slab of sludgy stoner metal with moments of greatness.

Highs: "Ode to Swine," "Raise the Death Toll," and "Terrordactyl."

Lows: "Get Inside" and "Dead by Dawn."

Bottom line: A flawed, but fun sludgy stoner metal album.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 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)