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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Lowbrow

Victims at Play

Review by Mike Korn

Well, you know you're not going to get thought-provoking progressive music with technical virtuosity from a band called "Lowbrow". Add in the fact that their debut record "Victims At Play" features a charming illustration showing the aftermath of a schoolyard massacre and it can only mean one thing: death metal is on the menu.

Lowbrow can really be considered the second coming of Six Feet Under. Their crude, simple death metal, heavy on catchy mid-paced riffs, conjures the same approach that SFU has to a tee. Vocalist Rich Hornberger sounds like he spends hours every day perfecting his Chris Barnes imitation. The mimicry couldn't be any more obvious but it's understandable when you learn that former SFU/Obituary guitarist Allen West is in the band and that the record is produced by Obituary's Donald Tardy. Also in the ranks are Nasty Savage alumni Ben Meyer and Curtis Beeson, but their influence is not noticeable, as Lowbrow does not sound much like the technical thrash of Nasty Savage. The band is Rich Hornberger: vocals, Allen West: lead guitar, Curt Beeson: drums, Ben Meyer:: lead guitar, and Scott Carino: bass.

This album is not brilliant and it certainly is not very original but I enjoyed the catchy, morbid riffing, delivered with maximum crunch. If you are a complete fiend for Six Feet Under, definitely check these guys out. If you thrill to the likes of Dream Theater or the Flower Kings, I might steer clear.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Flesh Parade
A pretty good opener, this establishes the band's SFU type sound with pounding mid-paced riffs that catch hold quickly. It is enjoyable, deliberately paced death metal.
Victims at Play
This track gets started with what sounds like an audio recording of the Arkansas Playground Massacre,as kiddies are mowed down by a fiend - touching stuff. Actually, the lyrics seem to condemn the mass violence of our society...somewhat of a hypocritical position. The track is sludgy, slower paced death that occasionally picks up the pace.
Nondescript
Here Lowbrow's imitations of Six Feet Under get just too close to comfort, as the opening choppy riff mimics "Lycanthrope" from the SFU debut. I can't give credit to an out-and-out steal.
Done In
A smoker, the pace picks up a lot for this quick burst of mayhem, that is definitely reminiscent of the Obituary track "Threatening Skies". This is good stuff!
Restoration
Slow and doomy, this is one of the more morbid tracks on offer. It features rather average riffing.
Fabrication
Typical sounding Florida death metal, this is nothing special.
Disheveled
“Disheveled" is probably the most different track on display here. It is still very death oriented but not such an obvious SFU/Obituary clone. Aggressive and catchy, with good bass work from Scott Carinom,this is the closest the band get to old Nasty Savage.
Co-Dependent
Mid-paced, catchy death, this one is just average.
Cold Stale Souls
I was starting to get tired of things at this point, and this song did not aleviate that feeling. It is another SFU clone with little to recommend it.
Bloody Meat
This revived things somewhat,with a powerfully heavy chorus riff and a quicker pace.
Interred in Dirt
The most blatantly morbid of all the tracks, this has that early Death type riffing that made "Leprosy" and "Scream Bloody Gore" such memorable albums.
 
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