Housebreaking Against All Odds 01bOne of my best friends just underwent a major life change. No, he didn’t get married, buy a house, or sign up for the military. Rather, he got himself a puppy! There are fewer things in life that are as awwwwww-inducing as owning a new puppy or kitten. These bundles of fur and love look so adorable eating your shoes, chasing after tennis balls, or Sabu-ing off of your furniture onto things, people, or other pets (sans barbed wire, of course). So it’s a bit of a shock that I’m reviewing a band from Italy that’s named after one of the most tried-and-true traditions of rearing a new pet: making sure your new fur child doesn’t poop or urinate everywhere in your treasured establishment. Yes, folks, there’s a band called Housebreaking, and their second full-length, Against All Odds, is here, and is promoted as a cross between Amon AmarthRammstein, Dark Tranquillity, and… Soulfly?

I’m sure by looking at both the band name and the comparison to a rather disparate collection of groups, you would probably guess Against All Odds would be one helluva clusterfuck of confusion, and you wouldn’t be that far off. With radio feedback and a Korn riff lifted right off of “Blind,” “Blood Red” jumpsdafuckup all in your grill with that riff beaten into your head repeatedly, with lyrics that would make Max Cavalera hand vocalist Jean Marc Valente his own 20-page dictionary to better assist him while he talk-growls (“The ground is blood red, and deep red the claims of your rage/But no one can see it, only the crows in the sky”) before devolving into a lesser-quality Skinlab. Have you ever been to Ozzfest back in, oh, 1999? Remember the bands of that year? Housebreaking could have easily opened the second stage before the likes of Puya and Apartment 26. In other words, they nailed the Soulfly comparisons down pat, minus things like guitar solos and cohesiveness.

So what of the other band comparisons? Other than lifting and dumbing down the riff to Amon Amarth‘s awesome “Tattered Banners and Bloodied Flags” in sole “standout” track “Misanthropique,” there’s very little to compare Housebreaking to the other aforementioned bands. There are no leads, nor any sense of melodrama that made Dark Tranquility the legends that they are. There’s no sultry backbeat that made Rammstein the pervy kings of industrial rock (except for the disturbing-for-all-the-wrong-reasons creepiness of spoken-word piece “Little Boy”), and other than “Misanthropique,” there’s not a single whiff of the tremolo-picked epicness that our favorite Swedish Vikings have given us in spades. There’s just nu-metally middling modern thrash about timely topics like the West Memphis Three (“Stolen Life”), odes to The More Things Change…-era Machine Head (“Out of Time”), staying away from the band (umm, “Stay Away”), and the closing track, the horribly-titled “thISIShell.” Care to take a wild guess as to what that song’s about?

Housebreaking Against All Odds 02

Produced and mastered by Stefano Morabito (Fleshgod Apocalypse) at 16th Cellar Studio in Rome, Italy, Against All Odds is brickwalled but chunky. The guitars have some major beef to them, and the bass, when you can hear it, is thick and slinky, adding to the Korn vibe. Kudos goes out to drummer Alessandro Ferrera, though, who puts out some rather incredible fills during “Blood Red” and “Misanthropique.” But between the sub-par vocals and lyrics, the lack of melody and originality in the riffs, the awkwardness of transitions within songs (that ending to “Stolen Life” is grossly out of place), and the fact that this style of metal passed its sell-by date 15 years ago, there’s little to recommend here. Then again, I’m probably expecting too much from a band who named themselves after the loving act of training your dog to not shit in your home.

If anything, Against All Odds succeeded at making me look up the 1999 Ozzfest line-up, so there’s that. Other than making me research that little chestnut of information, there’s no reason to hunt down this dated example of ESL nu-thrash. If you do, lay down some newspaper first.


Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 224 kbps mp3
Label: Bakerteam Records
Website: facebook.com/housebreaking
Releases Worldwide: October 16th, 2015

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  • “There’s just nu-metally middling modern thrash about timely topics like… staying away from the band (umm, “Stay Away”)…”

    Well, at least they’re honest. Probably tired of people hitting them with rolled up newspaper.

  • brutal_sushi

    About a minute and half in the embedded track and had to stop. Bless you for sitting through an entire albums worth of that.

  • Band Naming 101: If your band name immediately prompts pet urine jokes, consider choosing a different one.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      An unfortunate ESL fail. “Hey man, check out these two English words:
      “House” and “Breaking”. Let’s put them together and use it for the band name! Yea! Like, breaking down the house of convention! Or, smashing things up real good [band photo, which see]!”

      I think this beats out Decaying’s “Frequent Wind”.

      • Nothing beats “Frequent Wind.”

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Like tears of a unicorn lost in the rain
          Frequent Wind will triumph this day

          • Lasse Momme

            I’m gonna have to upvote you just because you quoted the greatest power metal song of the year.

    • It’s not even just the band name- read in tandem with the Album title it’s still “Housebreaking Against All Odds!” which sounds like a great motto for a new pet owner but that’s about it.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Looks like they’re READY FOR SOME FOOT!BALL!!!

  • You wot m8?

    There are a few elements that I can get behind here, and I’m not sure this deserved a 1.5 since some of the instrumentation is pretty tight. Yeah, it’s not great, but I generally think that giving a band a 1.5 means they have much poorer execution than this.

    Also, why the hell would you name your band Housebreaking?

    • Grymm

      The embedded track is also the tightest on the whole album. Also, parts don’t flow very well in the other songs.

      As for the band name, I guess “NONOGODDAMNIT” was taken?

  • Thatguy

    Oh, dear. I had to turn off the embedded song too.

  • PFC

    Do you think they meant breaking into someone’s house? Home invasion? Still lame but…

  • Edward McLean

    I actually liked the embedded track. Like, 3.5 or 4 stars out of five (if I was rating just off the embed).

    Do I have shit taste?

    • Alexandre Barata

      Yes

      • Edward McLean

        Is it possible to change that?

  • Elton Chagas

    After reading the “jumpdafuckup” part… I stopped.

    • You mean you didn’t jumpdafuckup? How dare you?!