"God is I"

(Regain Records 2009)Merauder - God is I

On one hand, it's almost unfair to compare Merauder to Hatebreed. Both bands, along with other acts such as Earth Crisis, spearheaded the metallic hardcore movement in the mid-‘90s. Plus, Merauder's debut "Master Killer" dropped a full year before "Satisfaction is the Death of Desire," Hatebreed's unfuckwithable opening shot. But the vagaries of fate and the music business intervened, and Jamey Jasta's crew found massive crossover appeal while Jorge Rosado and company remained relatively unknown outside of the hardcore community. On the other hand, it's completely fair to compare the two...because they sound quite similar. Ah well, perhaps in some Bizarro universe Hatebreed gets compared to Merauder up and down.

So yeah, "God is I" is an unfiltered dose of metallic hardcore, which many will no doubt mislabel as metalcore, which doesn't quite fit here. The album is a throwback to a time before bands like Sworn Enemy started trying to fool everyone into thinking they're thrash acts. Merauder stick to what they do best, keeping their songs simple and tightly constructed; brutish mid-tempo chugging, punishing and sensibly placed breakdowns, and Rosado's concrete-throated bark make up the bulk of the album. Metal's influence on the band can be seen most clearly in the shred solos that crop up (including a fantastic one on "Built on Blood"), occasional double-bass pummeling, and the sense of melody that runs through the album, best personified in the guitar lead and triplet-laden "Gangsta."

While Merauder won't win any points for originality, there is something to be said for sliding into a niche and carving it mercilessly. "God is I" is a perfectly fine slab of bruising hardcore, and it's guaranteed to open up many mosh pits, so that basketball shorts-wearing hardcore kids can show off their ridiculous martial arts-dance moves. And look at that, we went a full 202 words without mentioning Hatebreed again.



buy it!