Review Summary: Brilliantly inventive death metal with a unique twist. Heavy, groovy and possibly a little bit progressive, this promising UK act is a welcome addition to a selection of groups who have the capability to impress through originality.
What do you get when you blend death metal with drum n' bass influences? An odd genre combination is one possible answer to this question. Alternatively, you could just present someone with the debut album of a little known UK act called Ted Maul, who have successfully managed to blend the aforementioned genres. The result is astonishing; the frenetic pace of the music never slows down. The sheer heaviness of everything is also pretty impressive - guitar riffs buzz like chainsaws, odd keyboard sounds filter in and out and sick grooves that implement tricky meters are aplenty. This is metal, but it is metal like you've never heard it before.
White Label opens up with a corker of a track in the form of Forest... With This Memory Of A Free Festival. After a brief introduction featuring some electronic noises, some hushed vocals come in with a huge, chugging guitar riff guaranteed to get your head bobbing. The vocals are most impressive throughout the song, switching from guttural lows to screeching highs. As far as rhythm sections go, the band have got it down. Drumming is solid, with some great double bass pedal work and some cool fills every now and again. The bass adds a supremely thick low end to the sound, with that supremely undoubtedly being owed to those low frequencies. Hey, there is even a brief solo - nothing overtly virtuoso, but it is interesting and fits the song well.
Spherical Lie keeps things very heavy and very brutal, with some very quick drumming and catchy guitar riffs. One thing that you probably will have noticed by now is how much the crystal clear production adds to the overall, punishing sound that emanates through your speakers. Every clink of a hi-hat or every small, subtle bell-hit is heard perfectly, with the creepy low talking vocals coming through just as well as any of the growls or screams do.
For those whom are interested in what sorts of drum n' bass influences are present on the album, there are a few key tracks that should be checked out. 200db's down is almost instrumental (aside from some vocal sampling) - the beat set is most definitely drum n' bass, but the fact that the guitar imitates it just makes it that much more original and fresh. For the Innocent, being one of the album's biggest highlights, opens up with electronic keyboard sounds and some electronic drumming. A mammoth guitar riffs enters right before the vocal schizophrenia really does hit you. More double bass pedal mayhem, accompanied by brutal guitar riffs in uncomfortable time signatures. Don't be put off by this; Ted Maul never venture into the realms of math metal by playing DEP-like sections. Whilst every band member is undoubtedly competent in their ability on their instruments, nothing is out of place or overtly technical. The guitars tend to focus more on creating a groove rather than playing flashy riffs. On occasions, the odd flashy riff may be heard, but if you want more out-and-out technicality, you're probably better off buying a SikTh album.
If you'd of come up to me and said that death metal could be combined with drum n' bass before I'd heard of Ted Maul, I probably would have just laughed at you. However, Ted Maul proves that those odd genre combinations often turn out some of the best unique music in the metal scene at the moment. Alongside stellar acts such as Architects, Devil Sold His Soul and SikTh, who are willing to push the boundaries and limits just that little bit further, Ted Maul have successfully proved themselves as one act to watch out for. As the band say on their myspace, Ted Maul are going to infiltrate the inside of your intestine.
Gutting the Reason
And We Tolerate the Sickness
For the Innocent