Five Pointe O are, as far as I'm concerned, one of the most badly ignored bands around. They don't have much of a history (Untitled
is their debut, and the band wasn't formed for long before making it), but they brought out a fantastic album, which got acclaim from a whole load of critics, but never seemed to gain any popularity. In my eyes, they really deserve to.
The band's general sound is a metal one - theres very little in the way of actual singing, with heavy guitars and the generally "negative" feel to it that I use to distinguish between rock and metal (its a personal thing though, and I've never been able to adequately explain it to anyone).
The band has six members, with one main vocalist (Daniel Struble) who does most of the "regular" vocals and the screaming type vocals. One of the guitarists (the oldest member of the band, by about a decade) also does some of the deeper growling vocals, though Daniel also does them (which I found out when I saw them live, which surprised me - I thought the older guy did all the lower, growling stuff).
If you like "typical" 90's popular metal (Korn, earlier Tool etc) then you'll most likely be able to just ease into this album - the first three tracks are solid, if not anything spectacular. They allow the listener to hear the skill of the band, and show that what the band are doing they are doing very well, but they hold nothing amazing. On a personal note, for me Double X Minus
(5/5) > Art of Cope
(4.5/5) > King of the Hill
The first real hint that this isn't just another metal band comes in the surprising Purity 01
(5/5). The track starts with an Eastern sounding drum rhythm, which is not reduced by the opening wordless vocals. This is followed by what is essentially spoken word (lyrics concerning the supposed Armageddon at the advent of the Millenium, which then branch into all sorts of things, including ascension to heaven(")). The chorus isn't all that easily recognisable, and consists of near-screaming rather than anything radio-friendly. In all a fantastic track, and my personal favourite on the disc.
The next track is Freedom
(5/5), another of my favourites, which starts with guitar and is seemingly faster than the previous tracks. The chorus is more instantly recognisable, as it is almost a chant. The lyrics are brilliant; seemingly a rant against society and religion, they begin with what has been, for me, one of the most memorable opening lines in any song ever - "Where rape is called 'freelance gynaecology'/Portraits of heathens hang, while heroes die on our TV screens."
This song adequately follows up on the expectations following Purity 01
Sympathetic Climate Control
(2/5) however, really doesn't do anything for me. Its one of the slower and gentler tracks on the album, but this isn't why I don't like it; I just don't think its very good. The best comparison I come up with for it is Gently
, by Slipknot - a really bad track surrounded by decent tracks (although this album outshines Iowa
by far, you get the idea). The things which stops it getting an atrocious score are the lyrics, which deal with a view of a child, probably abused etc (very Jon Davis friendly, but I just feel it is well expressed).
(5/5) is different again; it returns to the speed of Freedom", but with harsher guitars and vocals - there are almost no "normal" vox (apart from the second part of the chorus, which devolves into screaming anyway). The lyrics are both dismissive of whoever/whatever the song is aimed at and at the same time paranoid ("they've come to take me away to a far off place"
amongst others) and unsure.
(4/5) again has harsh vocals - this time more low/growling than screaming (though the latter does appear later). The lyrics deal with regret, I think - longing for something previously loved ("the womb's way too far"
) or just something more than what there is ("We need something more"
is practically the line around which the song is built). This track is one of my favourite musically rather than vocally, and it contains a great line about Bruce Lee.
(5/5) is easily my favourite track after Purity 01
. Its the shortest on the album, but also in my opinion the most dynamic in terms of the musicianship (it appears so to me anyway), and is much more stop/start than the rest of the album, with jerky guitar and a total stop in the middle, before launching into a downward spiral (through guitar) chant of "No!". Contains the most emotion for me (during the No bit) of the whole album.
(4/5) is another slower song, like Sympathetic Climate Control
, but it seems to work better. It also happens to have a faster bit in the middle, and more of an attempt at singing than on most of the rest of the album.
(3/5) - this is a long track, almost 12 minutes. It is slower and gentler than most of the tracls, but it actually makes a great track to relax and wind down to, with limited lyrics and sparse vocals.
Hopefully then, this should be a decent introduction to Five Pointe O - a band who at first seem to be little different from others, but, if you persist and are willing to have to try a little for your taste in music, will reveal all sorts of unexpected treats.