Review Summary: A very anti-religious rap metalcore band who press all the right buttons but fail to really extend themselves past that.
Album: The End of The World
Release Date: May 12th, 2007
As you most likely won't know, Genuflect were formed from Reveille, an underground rap nu-metal outfit in 2005. The End of the World is their debut in which Genuflect, as their name suggests, dedicate the full album to lashing out at all forms and aspects of religion in a very primal, angry record with both rap and metal-core influence. Genuflect manage to distinguish themselves as a new band with something to say but throughout the album one wonders, is that all they are?
Let's get one thing straight from the start, Genuflect are very serious about religion. When you listen to the album, you know this isn't the over milked corporate ploy that bands before them have tried to use so as to carve themselves an identity, for Genuflect concern themselves with religion and just that on this album. Instantly, we see a flaw in the very foundations of the album, as there's only so much you can dedicate to already highly used topic in music before it becomes mundane, but the band pull it off through sheer aggression. Drew Simollardes' keeps up a consistent performance throughout as a vocalist who pushes nihilism to it's limits, represented clearly in a high point of the album, the lyrics. Whether he's spitting savagely about pedophilia in "Epinephrine" or describing engaging in necrophilia with an angel "Dark As Night", Simollardes innovates with a subject that is lacking it. His voice too is a testament to his passion, growls and screams rife at chorus and breakdown. His rapping however is somewhat subpar, failing to carry the emotion he pushes at other sections and leaving the verses a stark, negative contrast to the rest of song, the only standout rap moment in the aforementioned "Epinephrine", where Simollardes taints his voice with speed and passion otherwise unprecedented on the album.
The instrumental musicianship is another failing of the album, for whilst the bass, guitar and drums all do their jobs, you'll quickly find that's all they do. Near every song is a stereotypical metal chug with the hope that the vocals can carry the anger with them, which it often doesn't. The band members seem unwilling to break the norm and stand out in the midst of the song with an impressive roll, line or riff, if through sheer inadequacy, or more likely, a simple fear of experimenting outside of the genre they've so neatly placed themselves in. Not only are there no technically impressive points in the album, you'll also find a distinct lack of imagination. More then half the album follows a formulaic pattern, with quiet guitar and a bass overlay at verse building up to guitar walls at chorus, synchronised with Simollardes' escalating voice. Whilst this doesn't sound bad, it quickly grows tiresome after you've heard it for the fourth track in a row. There are times where they do do this right, as seen in "Bloody Murder" and "Kill Shot", two of the best tracks, which whilst not inspired, are enjoyable but in compromise, several tracks simply fade into obscurity.
But perhaps this is best, because Genuflect show that when they do experiment, it doesn't go well. "Afterlife" and "Here and Now" seem to be Genuflect's attempt at conformity to a common musical ideal that even angry albums need softer songs, which is fair enough if the band has the capacity to carry it off, but Genuflect simply doesn't. Both songs feel stunted and repressed, like the band wish, whilst playing the song that they were doing an aggressive piece, where they feel most comfortable. One saving grace in this are glimpsed dual-vocals between Simollardes and guitarist Greg Sullivan, found largely in "Afterlife" and "Dead Right", which actually show some tantalisingly untapped potential in their harmony, so there's hope for progression, but it's a glimmer in the dark.
Genuflect are simply not setting themselves up well with this album, if they're a band willing to stand out and inspire. Ironic in comparison to the band's political standpoints, they conform.Yes, they can apply and attain the key aspects of a decent rap metal group, but for them to distinguish themselves, Genuflect will have to start treating themselves not just as a political vehicle but as musicians as well.