1. Deadly Force Action
2. Flesh And Blood
3. The Die Is Cast
5. Blade In The Chamber
6. Where Do We Go From Here
7. Save My Soul
8. Breathing To Expire
2004 Garden Of Exile Records
There are three things that immediately jumped out at me about this record:
1) This band spelled their name with the letter "Z" when it was definitely not necessary.
2) This band is full of crazy Europeans.
3) This band sounds a LOT like Pantera.
Once I had digested those three things, I moved on to find myself welcoming the change of pace that 37 Stabwoundz gave me from mediocre mallcore. While Europe is usually years ahead of the U.S. when it comes to metal, this band has taken its cues from America circa 1995. If I had to break down this band's sound mathematically, it would probably be about 50% Pantera, 25% Life of Agony, and the other quarter a slew of everything from Meshuggah to Ministry.
Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) on this record is low-end heavy. The guitars and bass are both crushing and the bass drum hits are as rich as any I've heard before. The vocals vary between Phil Anselmo-esque growls and Keith Caputo's melancholic croon. Every once in awhile, 37 Stabwoundz reveal that they have in fact been influenced by their Northern European brethren, but the so-called "Swedish metal" sound is used so sparingly here that it probably only appears in one or two of the disc's nine tracks. Otherwise, this disc is dominated by the heavy, driving sounds pioneered by the likes of Crowbar, Machine Head and Pantera.
I'm sure that to some people this sounds terrible, but I personally found it good at least in a nostalgic sort of way. It seems like everyone rips off the same five bands anymore. It's kind of nice to hear someone ripping off a less commonly heard sound. Serve Olieslagers, formerly of Born From Pain, serves up some great, memorable riffs, and Mike Scheijen's vocals are pretty great too. While the music was a lot simpler than a lot of what passes for metal these days, it seems like these guys definitely had their hearts in the right place and their attitude definitely comes through in the music.
Bottom Line: As unlikely as it may have seemed when I saw the extraneous "Z" in their name, 37 Stabwoundz managed to hold my interest and even impress me at times. Embrace Solitude is a throwback to a time when metal was more about attitude than style. They aren't out to prove that they can out-tech anyone and they certainly don't care about their girls' jeans and hairdos. This record is fun, angry and heavy. It's less of a "must-have" and more of a "hey, why not" I'm not saying it's for everyone, but I certainly found myself nodding along. Now if they could just get a better name...