Thursday, January 16, 2014

Maniac Butcher - Krvestřeb (1997)

Krvestřeb is the third full-length from Maniac Butcher, released in 1997. This album continues from where the last one leaves off, more or less. However, there are a few elements that work against it. While the basic style is unchanged, it is lacking consistency and is rather mediocre compared to their previous albums.

The production is slightly cleaner than on Lučan-Antikrist. The hollowness from Barbarians is back, but the overall sound is just a bit too clear. The bass, which is rather pointless on this album, sticks out at times. The drumming is too high in the mix and only puts more emphasis on the fact that the drums feature more fills and so on than are needed. For some reason, the guitar doesn't feel as though it is the complete center of attention and is bereft of the coldness that was present just a year earlier.

Further lowering this album's potential is the overlong keyboard intro. These guys avoid using such things during the actual songs, yet made the poor choice to waste the first few minutes of the record with synth nonsense. The alien elements persist, with the clean guitar intro to "Píseň Černých Vran", which doesn't really fit into the rest and is even more awkward with the vocal performance that accompanies it. Maniac Butcher was never purely one-dimensional, but this album shows even more variation than before, with the slower riffs on the first song and the weaker mid-tempo sections during the second track, "Oči Oběti". Its faster moments are among the more enjoyable on the release, but the momentum is repeatedly interrupted. All in all, the songwriting is rather standard for this band, with a decent amount of faster riffs that carry things forward. It still lacks in intensity, somehow, perhaps due to the cleaner sound and the mid-paced interludes (such as in "Smrt Nepravým"). Even the guitar melodies, themselves, lack the conviction and darkness that existed on their earlier albums. The title track is a good example of this.

All in all, Krvestřeb isn't a bad album. It's just not a good one, either. Maniac Butcher was capable of more than this, as evidenced by the albums that came before. In general, this is a band that doesn't get enough recognition for their work, but this is probably the last record that I would advise anyone to get, especially if they are new to the band.