Review Summary: You know how some movies are just so horrendously stupid they end up being funny? Yeah...I think that's what Dr. Acula was going for...
I was first introduced to Dr. Acula about three months ago during a break at band practice. Somehow, our singer knew a guy who used to be in a band with somebody else whose brother knew a guy in the band, or something to that extent, and he had a copy of their demo. The only song we listened to was Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, and I have to say I was mildly impressed. Sure there were cheesy samples from old sci-fi and horror films, but the band had a decent sense of humor in their music. Not to mention the breakdowns, though not exactly memorable, really made you want to punch something.
However, this was their demo. Since the point said demo was released, Dr. Acula was signed by Uprising Records. So what did Dr. Acula do now that they were surrounded by label mates such as Eyes Upon Separation, Nehemiah, and....Fall Out Boy? Well the answer is quite simple really. They decided to approach their album with the mindless sense of humor of a drunken frat boy.
Deathcore has become a seemingly endless expanse of cookie cutter bands using the same cheap tricks and generic pseudo death metal instrumentation, which is often watered down just enough so fans of lighter music can get into it. What makes this band who they are is that they take everything that makes other bands in the genre generic, such as the movie/video game samples, electronics, random dance music segments, and cheesy lyrics, and overdo it to the Nth degree. Most bands have two or three samples per album, Dr. Acula has up to three per song
. Cheesy dance music/electronic sections usually last around ten seconds and add to the "spazziness" of the songs, Dr. Acula's electronic sections may last up to 30. I think you get the picture, now onto the actual music.
There is absolutely nothing in this band that stands out against the countless others in the genre instrumentally and vocally speaking. The drums are standard fare, so in other words the main focus is "how much crap can i actually cram into this measure?". The drummer may be mildly talented, but as per usual the double bass patterns always follow the chugging of the guitars and the cymbals always crash the same "1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4" pattern. Vocally, everything in the genre is offered. High pitch shrieks, something i can only describe as yelping, throaty shouts, roars, deep growls, and even pig squeals make appearances. While none of the vocal deliveries are bad, they are also absolutely no different than anything you've heard before. The guitarists are painfully sub par, and stick almost entirely to open palm muted chords in a breakdown pattern. However, when they do attempt to get "adventurous", they come out with extremely weak sounding leads, and the tremolo picked parts that are rapidly becoming overdone. Actually scratch that, the guitarists are actually unable to tremolo pick
so all the aforementioned riffs are done in a slow alternate picking manner.
The first song on offer here is Beer Pong Massacre, which opens up with a decent enough guitar part and a quick drum fill. The vocals then come in roaring just like...well pick any other band in the genre basically, and shout some indecipherable lyrics before another quick fill leads into an extremely slow blast beat section followed by....rap. Yes, rap. The song takes you on a half minute trip down memory lane to the late nineties/early 2000's when Limp Bizkit reigned supreme over TRL, and honestly, Limp Bizkit did it way better. The track doesn't get any better from there, meandering in and out of blast beat sections and breakdowns galore for what seems like five more minutes, even though the track is only slightly over two.
Skipping ahead to Shocker On Shock Street, its clear the album has not progressed at all. The lyrics are mindless to say the least, with such glorious lines as F*** your ego
and Let me see you f***ing dance
. If you haven't figured it out, the album is a lyrical sh*t storm. Instrumentally, the song displays, once again, the exact same breakdown riffs as the rest of the songs, while the vocalists screams his way to mediocrity. Piano Lessons Can Be Murder would be the albums lone redeeming song, except for the fact that they completely redid the song. The samples remain the same, with such lovely phrases as I came here to do two things, kick a**, and chew bubblegum, and I'm all out of bubblegum
, and Alright everybody out on the dance floor!
. The screaming, where before was actually used in a fun and effective way, has been replaced with not quite sung, not quite shouted, not quite spoken vocals. Even the lone electronic section that was pleasurable was ruined in the remake.
Going into the other songs would be pointless as it is just the same breakdown, breakdown, drum fill, electronic section/blast beat section, breakdown, death metal-ish section, breakdown, end, formula. Even though the average length of a song is about two and a half minutes, every song seems to drag on forever. Even though a few songs do contain some interesting and enjoyable material, listening to the rest of the song simply isn't worth the payoff of hearing that one interesting riff, drum fill, keyboard part, scream, or whatever it may be. If the band decided to put any effort at all into their next album and try to take the actual music just a bit more seriously, they may actually be worth something.