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Meek is Murder - "Algorithms" (CD)

Meek is Murder - "Algorithms" CD cover image

"Algorithms" track listing:

1. Hello, World! (:44)
2. Return Void (:44)
3. Algorithms (1:15)
4. Recursions (2:19)
5. (Null) (2:02)
6. Hope Springs Eternal (Spaghetti Code) (1:26)
7. Sundowners (2:16)
8. Foo (1:20)
9. Dining Philosophers (1:15)
10. Garbage Collector (6:12)

Reviewed by on March 23, 2011

"This debut LP is anger incarnated, packing a venomous punch into nine short tracks (plus a lengthy closer)."

The NYC trio Meek Is Murder has been publicized all over MetalSucks, a popular metal blog that is also playing a role in the album's release. The blog has done this before with The Binary Code’s “Suspension Of Disbelief,” though “Algorithms” is a far different beast than the progressive death metal of The Binary Code. Meek Is Murder is all about pissed-off hardcore ala Converge and The Red Chord. A mention of the latter band isn’t a surprise considering that vocalist/guitarist Mike Keller spent some time in The Red Chord a few years back. This debut LP is anger incarnated, packing a venomous punch into nine short tracks (plus a lengthy closer).

“Hello, World!” is a humorous opener that welcomes the listener to the chaos. “Return Void” reaffirms this position, as the abrasive guitars are paired with torrential rhythm work. In less than two minutes, the band has established their sound as a calculated sonic melee. This pace hardly levels out, a hailstorm of aggression that rains down on ever inch of this record. On songs like the title track, “Foo,” and “Dining Philosophers,” the noise-to-melody ratio favors the former.

With only twenty minutes to spare, there is a surprising assortment of melody. The two-minute tracks pack a mid-tempo style that let the musicians do more than just wail on their instruments. “(Null)” has an unexpected low-key piano outro capable of not compromising the intensity heard in the early goings. The extended feedback of “Sundowners” is a nasty treat for those who revel in static guitar buzzing. Over three times as long as the average song on “Algorithms,” “Garbage Collector” puts across the idea that the band is not strictly one-dimensional in their mindset. A brilliant jam session instrumental concludes the record on a dynamic note.

Usually, common complaints about an album like “Algorithms” is either length-related or monotony in the music. These two components are non-issues; the length is fine for the fast pace the band resides in and there is enough variety with the piano breaks and lead guitar breakdowns to avoid the latter. If anything, there should be more moments like the closing track and “(Null).” “Garbage Collector” is an atypical step taken by the band, a thrilling venture that should be explored on future releases. It shows maturity and a balance of sounds that is missing from the headstrong approach of the quick material.

With the reliable Kurt Ballou involved as producer, and the experience the three members share from their times with bands like The Red Chord and Empyreon, “Algorithms” is a potent collection of unhinged hardcore. Meek Is Murder is adept in the fundamentals of songwriting, building upon the blending of relentless pummeling and tempered melody. The first few tracks may seem linear, but the real treasure lies further within. The band doesn’t pave new ground, but does their part in making this a standout release worth spending hard-earned money on.

Highs: Furious pace throughout, surprisingly melodic at times, ambitious closer "Garbage Collector"

Lows: Some will complain about its short length, should have been more moments like the piano break in "(Null)" and the jam-heavy closing tracks

Bottom line: It's short, furious, and venomous hardcore that revels in feedback and distortion.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)