Claustrofobia – I See Red Review

Claustrofobia I See Red
Rating: 2.5/5.0 – Drop the scale runs and make it shorter, and this would be a better album
Label: Candlelight
Release Date(s): EU: 19.10.2009 | USA: Release date unclear

claustrofobiaalbumAnyone who’s ever been a guitarist knows that guy who shames you.  Well, maybe not everyone, ’cause sometimes you are that guy who shames people, but for the most part, we all know that guy.  He’s really good, I mean.. really good. He basically runs circles around the competition, he makes even your best work look like totally sloppy shit and if he doesn’t have a seriously out of control ego, you probably are trying like a madman to get him into your band, even though you’re embarrassed by how bad you are compared to him.  Of course, what I never understood when I was younger was why so many of these guys worked at Guitar Center.  Sure, these guys can play anything that you play back at you, but they can’t write.

Claustrofobia’s guitarist is one of these guys.  This guy is good.  Actually, he’s not just good, he’s great.  This man is one of those guys that you want in your band.  I mean, the dude can seriously play.  But does that make Claustrofobia’s new record, and Candlelight debut, I See Red worth picking up?  No.  Instead, proving the rule of why guys who play like this work at Guitar Center, I See Red is an exercise in mediocrity.

Claustrofobia has basically thrashy death metal in the vein of old Sepultura and Vader.  Death metal as you know it, and not much more, is what you get from I See Red.  The approach is mildly novel at points, relying on good technical riffs to interrupt what would normally be pretty straight forward thrash riffing.  The sound is thick and the band is talented, and a markedly old school production (but still clean) brings out the drums in a way that doesn’t make them sound fake and over-produced, giving this record a good thickness that a lot of modern metal lacks.

On the other hand, this record is filled with riffs that don’t leave an impression and solos that are pretty much just any guitar teacher’s ideas of scale-runs.  While tracks like “Tira de Meta” stand out, tracks like “Discharge,” “Our Blood” and “Warstomp” underwhelm the listener with their re-hashed riffs and prepackaged solos. The record does get markedly stronger as it goes on.  But the guitar work that is supposed to impress and be interesting, is often just chromatic scales and intentionally dissonant claustrofobia-promo-photo-01approach for the sake of dissonance that doesn’t seem to serve any purpose or really fit into the particular idiom that the band has set themselves in.

There are definitely high points on this album and were this record half the length of what they released, I think it would be a much stronger album.   To be honest, I was excited for this album when I first hear the technical approach that they were using at certain parts.  But over time it began to blend together, and I was so distracted by the guitar work and unimpressed with the writing, that I think I lost that excitement.

Claustrofobia could be a markedly better band, if they would wander further into the technical side of things, and use each part of the song to their advantage.  With players like they have, and a keen understanding of good rhythm, they could produce something that is far more unique than what I See Red offers.  This band has practically unlimited potential, but unfortunately this album doesn’t showcase it.

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