A horrible hack

Cougar Den

Keepondrifter

Year Released: 2009
Format: CD
Label: Init
 
Reviewed by Dangerous Jamie on Jul 6, 2009
First things first, youíve got to love the artwork of Aaron Horkey. His poster work never ceases to amaze me, and all of that style and substance are presented beautifully on this digipack release of Cougar Denís first full length. Metalcore is a tortured beast, with a few mainstays keeping up the standard against a backdrop of mediocrity and unoriginality. Cougar Den manage to bypass the latter and are threatening to gatecrash their way in the gentlemenís club that is the former. Spattered with screamo, Keepondrifter is an excellent first full lengther full to bursting with interesting licks and melodies. The drawback, and there is always a drawback, is that Cougar Den donít seem to have found a sound of their own yet. You can tune in through the eight tracks and pick out the many parts that are directly inspired by genre contemporaries.

All eight tracks are spewed forth with metallic gusto and are sure to leave imitators wheezing, as they offer riff after riff matched with scream after scream burning with intensity. The guitar resonates sheer screeching desire, with plenty of tremolo parts that sit proudly amidst the chaos. The lyrics are coming of age stories of small towns and urban sprawl, laced with irony and deprecating self study. At times, the sound is just so massive that you wouldnít believe it is coming from just three men; they seem to be imbued with the power of ten burly, but emotionally free, lumberjacks. With all three members on vocal duties, they vocals range from chanting anthemia to sounding a bit like Geoff Rickly after a swift throat kick (which is a good thing!). Each song crashes and wails as if riding an emotional rollercoaster through modern life, the crescendos swell and plunge laying waste to every heart, mind and throat in earshot.

The production on the album is nigh on perfect, raw with just the right amount of tailoring sitting well with the intentionally messy sound. It roars like a mighty beast, and now it is over silence seems much quieter than I ever remember it being. The album kicks and punches out of its weight and succeeds in pummelling otherís sounds into a not-entirely-new-but-just-wow sound, while narrowly avoiding sounding like ďThe Greatest Hits Of Screamy MetalcoreĒ. Itís not original, but it is fucking excellent.
Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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