Menemic // Sons of the System
Rating: 2.0/5.0 – Blase, cliche and just generally mediocre
Label: Nuclear Blast (EU | US)
Website: myspace.com/mnemic | mnemic.com
Release Dates: EU: 15.01.2010 | US: 01.26.2010
Mnemic has been around in the ether for a while but I’ve never given them a proper listen until now. The band has good promo, they’ve toured Europe twice with metal giants (like ’em or not) Metallica, they look like real metal dudes and they’ve got cred because a couple people I know compared them to Meshuggah back when they first came out. Unfortunately, Sons of the System sounds a lot less like Meshuggah and a lot more like Sonic Syndicate. This record is another convergence point for things that I’m not really keen on in the world of metal and I’ll give you a short run-down.
At its base Mnemic is a groovecore band. The riffs are meant to be groovy, the drums tight and heavy and the atmosphere built to move your body to. Now and again they pull that off, but I think they’ve got a couple of things working against them on this front. First, groovecore sounds more and more like metalcore in my ears every time I listen to it because the production values are leaning more in the direction of triggered drums, “soaring vocal” choruses a la Killswitch Engage and a glut of predictable and uninteresting breakdowns. While expertly executed and smoothly produced, Sons of the System follows this formula off the cliff. The soaring vocals are completely forgettable, the chuggy parts feel thin and very rarely is there a groove that makes me want to do anything other than listen to something else.
This is not to say that there is nothing good going on here, but it’s few and far between. The track “Fate” has its moments, for example, and there are a couple of melodies early on that caught my ear (the intro to “The Erasing” is a great example of this) but they never moved me to anything more than a “huh.” To top it off, the disc just gets pretty repetitive. Since the band isn’t doing anything very interesting melodically throughout the whole 55 minutes of this disc, the tracks all blend into eachother, with each chorus mimicing the choruses before and after it and the riffs repeating ad nauseum. The advertised “progressiveness” that has been flaunted in reference to this new record is few and far between (I count about 3 places where the record moves into something beyond standard groove riffs) and mainly it just sounds like Meshuggah rip-off rather than something new and interesting.
There is a sound that is forming with these groovecore/metalcore bands that are coming from Europe that I’m thinking about dubbing with the very down-my-nose kind of expression: Eurocore. Sonic Syndicate sounds pretty much like this as well, with production values that bore and fail to impress, groovy riffs that are everything you’ve ever heard before and a formula that, in general, disappoints because of its predictability and lack of originality. I guess I understand that there’s pressure on these bands to try to be as commercial as possible in order to stay in the limelight, but then again.. I can’t think of anyone I know who actually likes music that sounds like this.