It's been a while since I've written a review it seems. I've missed showcasing upcoming bands and known bands talents and sharing them with the readers of our beloved website. My return to MeGusta isn't unaccompanied. In fact, I'm bringing along a band from overseas that's going to melt your brain once you get a taste of what they have to offer. Are you ready, you hooligans? Here it comes!
Tonight's review comes from the mighty land of Italty, Piacenza to be exact. It's been a long time since I've heard anything outstanding come out of Italy and I'm really glad these guys are the latest to rekindle my love in the Italian scene. Straight On Target is a five-piece deathcore/death metal suit that has been around since about 2009 but are just recently starting to make a name for themselves over here in the grand land of North America. With approximately five thousand "likes" on Facebook and it growing by the hour, it's safe to say that these guys haven't quite broken out into the mainstream scene yet, but hopefully this article will bring some new fans into their lives and share the extreme brutality that is Straight On Target.
Straight On Target released an EP a while back entitled Mediocratis, which was pretty well received and had some well-composed deathcore tunes all throughout. Now they're back with PharMakos and quite honestly, this is the release that's going to make or break the band as far as I see it. I just said "make or break" to sound a little dramatic, but this release is definitely going to make the band.
PharMakos starts off a little slow with an intro track to get the groove set and to get all the listeners bumping up and down. The intro continues into the second track, "Ostrakon", and made it last a little longer than I expected it to. It kind of dragged on and I wasn't sure exactly what the band was trying to go for with such a long and seemingly endless intro. Finally, though, the crushing vocals and instrumentals fuse together and we're in the heat of the action with what Straight On Target has to offer. The first couple of tracks are well written and composed deathcore/death metal-infused tracks, but it's not until the sixth track, "Initiation", that you really get a taste for what this band is all about. This track definitely stood out for me because almost halfway through the drumming gets so intense and heavy that at that point in particular, the band had my full and undivided attention.
The next few tracks speak the same as the first couple in terms of delivery both vocally and instrumentally. There was nothing too insane or spectacular was thrown my way, and although I loved the heaviness the provided, I found myself getting a tad bored at the overall lack of uniqueness that the band delivered on their part. Don't get me wrong, PharMakos is extremely heavy and any fan of deathcore or death metal should have it in their library, but off the first few listens there really isn't a whole lot of replay value, and if there is, it's only in a couple of the tracks. The final track "Palms Leaves Reader" I found to be just like the rest of the album again vocally and instrumentally, but what the band did that I find to be increasingly annoying in every single band that does it is that they made the track just shy of seven minutes and only about four and a half of the seven minutes were used. I have never understood why bands leave two or more minutes of instrumentals or audio bits that just bore the listener. I have never been a fan of bands doing that...ever. I know that some use it as a means to create an atmosphere for the album or for the ending of said album, but in this case I just found it boring and it dragged on. Half the time I just skipped it and restarted the album instead of wasting my time listening to nothing special.
Overall the album was well done but it definitely had its own particular flaws; flaws that may not be important to some listeners but to me in particular I found them to impact the album negatively. I still love the sound Straight On Target makes and the path they're taking because it really appeals to my sense of heaviness, but they need to try to create something that can set them apart from the slew of bands that are trying to make it as well. I have a feeling they'll find a niche for themselves and we'll be hearing more of them in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled for these Italian stallions.