Marionette – Enemies
Rating: 2.0/5.0 – Blase and derivative, show it to your 12 year old brother to get him into better music later
Label: Listenable Records
Release Dates: EU: Out Now! | US: 2010 release in the works
Marionette may well be Sweden’s very first deathcore band! Well, I guess there could be others, but i’ve not been exposed to them (and frankly, I’m pretty OK with that). Some trends miss Sweden, like nu-metal did for the most part, but unfortunately this one didn’t. So there are a couple of things that I need to say up front, for people not familiar with the context with which Marionette will be dealt. First, the biggest thing in the Swedish underground right now is Japanese stuff. Kids are running off and learning Japanese; everyone and their dog is listening to bands like Dir En Grey and girls decked out in lolita garb are running around in parks playing with dolls and having picnics with every piece of pink they can gather together. This is a trend, and it is a matter of conforming to specific things that are very specific to individuals in that scene. In fact, people from that scene are, in my experience, highly judgmental, obsessed with outward appearance, cliquey and lame. So something in my brain breaks when I have 5 over-dressed glam kids with too much hairspray and neckties screaming “YOU CONFORM!” at me, while playing music that sounds like a blend of In Flames and good ol’ American deathcore. That is to say: ugh.
This record has been well-received because of it’s well-produced, crushing blend of melodic death metal with the chug heavy, breakdown-infused core. Actually, the reviews have been extremely positive and I find that to be surprising, because this CD makes my brain react like Teflon: everything just slips right off of it. Every hook, breakdown and screamed word reach my ears and make my brain go “Yup. Sooo… Think Sports Center is on?” I find myself zoning out somewhere in the middle of this album, only to awake when it goes off, having never noticed that the second half of the record has already played and I’ve not heard it. I actually went back and started this record over at the halfway mark and stopped doing other things in order to be able to actually hear the rest of the record.
Enemies is, of course, smooth as hell. It was produced by Fredrik Nordstrom, and the band is obviously talented players. However, there isn’t anything novel or interesting about this album aside from the occasional keyboard melody or guitar melody that catches your ear, Enemies is an exercise in “in one ear and out the other.” The lyrics, from what I can tell, are fairly boring and narcissistic (sjÃ¤lvupptagen) and the vocalist sounds like a mix of that Gothenburg sound and metalcore and deathcore bands from all over the globe.
All of that said, Marionette is the perfect gateway band to extreme metal for a new generation of post-emos who only listen to bands that wear makeup. These guys are slick as hell, they’ve got groove and melody that the kids will like and if they’ve never heard real metal up until now, they’ll probably think they’re really great. Like all gateway bands, they’ll eventually get left behind for heavier pastures, but that catchy approach will probably serve them well in the grand scheme of things.