AlbumsNovember 29, 20119,900 views

Starkweather Croatoan


01. Wilding 02. Taming Leeches With Fire 03. Slither 04. Bitterfrost 05. Hushabye : Goodnight 06. Vespertilian 07. Machine Rhythm Confessional 08. The Infinity Coil / Silken Garotte
2006 Candlelight Records
Our score 9

10/12/2006

Influential and superior hardcore bands continue being overlooked in favor of their flashier successors. This is especially true for virtually unclassifiable bands like Starkweather, Deadguy, Rorschach, Breach, and more recently Turmoil. It has also taken a year for Croatoan to get reviewed on Lambgoat, so it seems the curse of legends continues even in hardcore circles. The reality of Starkweather's landmark 1994 debut Crossbearer being one of the best albums of the decade, not to mention arguably the strongest release ever released by New York's ineffective Too Damn Hype Records, sadly remains unheard of by the legions of modern-day Converge fanatics. Croatoan, their sophomore full-length, has thankfully and finally earned the light of day, on an increasingly active and very metal Candlelight Records (Daylight Dies, Vader, Crowbar, Dismember, 1349). It should come as no surprise that Starkweather have delivered a metal album, but one so progressive and inventive that they cannot be accused of conforming to modern trends. The band's most appropriate production yet, executed by the band and Pierre Remillard (Cryptopsy, Gorguts) at his isolated Wild Studios in Quebec, gives Croatoan a life all its own. Evolving their sound further by carrying the doom components introduced on Into The Wire and their songs from the Definitely Not The Majors compilation, and the vocal hooks that made Crossbearer so memorable, all within their trademark linear, storytelling style of songwriting, Starkweather retain that rare distinction of sounding like no other band, period. While "Bitterfrost," "Hushabye : Goodnight," and "Wilding" feature Rennie's clean, twisted melodies breaking apart the sludge riffs, the album as a whole is admittedly more abstract and slower than their Crossbearer and Into The Wire. Starkweather use the increased room to maneuver skillfully, playing just the right amount to avoid being accused of flashing, but not too little to be considered boring in the least bit. In the first section of "Wilding," cult sludge band Iron Monkey comes to mind as well. New passages and riffs appear anew with each listen. Around two minutes into "Vespertilian," Starkweather (and likely Jim Winters, if going according to style) break into a nineties transition that brings to mind the band's earlier days, but soon disappears in favor of more constant, repetitive, mid-paced passages and Rennie's maniacal crooning. One notable exception aside, the creative core of Todd, Harry, and Rennie remains intact, meaning this is authentic Starkweather through and through (Harry's brother Vincent replaces Michele Eddison on bass). Even the elusive architect of nineties metalcore, Jim Winters (Turmoil, The Promise, Conviction), contributed some ideas to the writing of Croatoan making the album all the more special. Had Starkweather benefited from better record labels and displayed some, any, activity since releasing Into The Wire on Edison in 1995, they would probably in the driver's seat of the chaotic hardcore movement currently spearheaded by Bannon and his accomplices. Out of the darkest basements in the City of Brotherly Love re-emerges Starkweather, on a label that finally suits their needs. Not that Edison Recordings, with a former roster boasting respected and significant bands like Overcast, Coalesce, Acme, and Systral wasn't the right fit, but they sure weren't a label with the biggest advertising budget. And most new music buyers these days have to be informed of a band's legendary status in popular metal publications if they are to accord any dollars (or respect) to the band in question. This generation's Dan Seagrave, Paul Romano, gives Croatoan the artistic identity it calls for: Death imagery, concrete tones, antiquated feel, and a conceptual layout overall, with no song titles on the back or band lineup. The goal of this must be to remove any points of judgment for the sake of the music. Old fans will get it, and new ones may not, but then again Starkweather aren't aiming for the stars (a la Mastodon) so they can be as unorthodox as they damn well please. Bottom Line: With Croatoan, Starkweather make a compelling argument to be seeded much higher in the ranks of Revolver and Decibel popularity than they currently are. If a band is to be accorded credence in the U.S. metal scene today, it seems as though uniqueness and unencumbered artistry are two virtues fans look for. Whether today's hot bands still embody those virtues or have instead sold out to major label pressure to streamline their sound is another discussion. Metal, hardcore, noise, and hardcore influenced bands that defy labeling are still holding strong and brutalizing listeners. Playing Enemy, Blessing The Hogs, Turmoil, and Unsane will keep doing their thing. And the band that opened the floodgates to artistic freedom in hardcore, Starkweather, has made another compelling and very metal statement. Unsurprisingly, they are still miles ahead of everyone else. Expect this record to gain momentum ten years from now.

33 comments

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tacos_ 10/12/2006 9:51:18 AM

frijoles


ghetto_paul_ 10/12/2006 9:59:28 AM

ok, this settles it... "Micheal Gluck" is really just one big practical joke webmaster is playing on Lambgoat. No real person could possibly write that poorly without doing it intentionally.


still it sells_ 10/12/2006 10:01:08 AM

I have this album (LP version) for more then a year by now. Best metal album of 2005 together with Ion Dissonance's "Solace". Go buy this if you don't have it already!!!


burzum_ 10/12/2006 10:09:21 AM

i remember listening to Starkweather back in the day and liking it alright. I picked this new one up and it's actually a pretty thick & devastating album. Then i remembered why i can't listen to these guys for more than 10 minutes - those shitty singing vocals. It sounds like someone put Confessor and Inkwell in a blender - one second the guy sounds like Cobra Commander gargling gravely bits - which fits well w/ the tone, but then it's all downhill on the chorus...


john_doe_ 10/12/2006 10:15:06 AM

i'll make it easy for you all: great cd, better than 90% of all metalcore out there, buy it. now save yourself the hour you need to plow through that review.


adambomb_ 10/12/2006 10:42:09 AM

They aren't metalcore. (great album though)


lolzpfffffft_ 10/12/2006 11:13:41 AM

Way to strike while the iron is hot on this one, lambgoat.


CuntSnot_ 10/12/2006 11:52:28 AM

this sounds really interesting... Im gonna check this out... even of all the name-dropping in this review annoys me...


hotaction_ 10/12/2006 11:59:49 AM

i gave it a chance a few months ago but i just cant do it. sometimes it sounds awesome and then others im just like what the f*ck. i guess im not the only one who was turned off by the vocals.


Coldchain_ 10/12/2006 12:07:07 PM

Great band


phil_ 10/12/2006 12:59:37 PM

the vocals are the best part of the band imo


blam_ 10/12/2006 2:19:12 PM

album >>>>>> review


Gluck's a Faggot_ 10/12/2006 2:50:03 PM

I won't read anything Gluck writes anymore. Why lambgoat hasn't fired this c*nt yet is beyond me. f*ck him and his reviews.


pariah002_ 10/12/2006 3:02:08 PM

one of the greatest bands of all time and a f*cking amazing album. But like anything, if it isn't your style you won't like it


fk_ 10/12/2006 3:53:35 PM

starkweather is the only band that still brings that rawness and emotion that you felt when you first fell in love with brutal music. you either get it or you dont when it comes to starkweather. everything about this album is perfect: vocals, song structure, rifgaye, artwork. amen on these guys deserving more appreciation recognition and respect than converge. RECOGNIZE BITCHES


burzum_ 10/12/2006 4:28:17 PM

^ And that's why they fell off the planet for years and Converge has been making music consistantly. Even though I don't necessarily love Starkweather, i do give them props for being different/distinct.


panzram_ 10/12/2006 6:19:18 PM

*continue to be overlooked....come on Gluck, how do you f*ck up basic English? I vomited and quit reading after the first sentence.


Matt_ 10/12/2006 7:13:10 PM

"Evolving their sound further by carrying the doom components introduced on Into The Wire and their songs from the Definitely Not The Majors compilation, and the vocal hooks that made Crossbearer so memorable, all within their trademark linear, storytelling style of songwriting, Starkweather retain that rare distinction of sounding like no other band, period." Sleep through high school English class? Using big words to sound intelligent just makes your writing sound c-mbersome and you sound


Matt's mom_ 10/12/2006 7:35:07 PM

Matthew do your homework, I don't want you flunking out of community college for the third time! Plus, every time I fill up the fridge, everything's gone in 2 days...you need to go on a diet, Matthew.


chuz_ 10/12/2006 8:10:35 PM

Quote:ok, this settles it... "Micheal Gluck" is really just one big practical joke webmaster is playing on Lambgoat. No real person could possibly write that poorly without doing it intentionally. I DIDNT KNOW THE LAMBGOAT COMMUNITY WAS FULL OF ENGLISH TEACHERS. You can all go f*ck yourselves.


jack_mama_ 10/12/2006 10:16:01 PM

f*ck yes... killer album


Matt_ 10/12/2006 10:22:37 PM

Sorry Mom, I just get so depressed that I suck in school that I just eat and eat...


fdfgfasd_ 10/13/2006 7:43:05 AM

this has been my album of the year for 2 years now..


godfatherofsoul_ 10/13/2006 9:27:47 AM

You'd have to be mentally ill not to like this. beautiful, compelling, ugly, repulsive, and digustingly heavy, shits on 99.9% of "metalcore" no f*ck that, metal in general.


Aaron_ 10/13/2006 2:06:24 PM

Man, you guys are pretty f*cking brutal on all the reviewers at this site. I would like to read your album reviews -- would probably go something like: "This album sucks because these guys are gay gay motherf*ckers. f*ck them and their stupid f*cking band."


Joe Hardcore_ 10/13/2006 2:55:12 PM

2 problems with this review- turmoil needs not to be mentioned with deadguy and starkweather. 2nd- not that too damn hype was bad as much as starkweather is so into their thing they weren't a band to be "marketed" like the bands are today. starkweather is a hard sell to anyone becausee they truly don't care who likes them or if people haven't heard them. they exist purely on their own terms. its hard to work with a band like that and make the record popular. bands like Candiria are quite known


you dumbasses_ 10/14/2006 8:07:27 AM

start giving albums reviews when they actually release.


poop_ 10/14/2006 1:34:54 PM

it's not like you actually knew about it until now anyways, so shut up.


anonymous 10/15/2006 7:04:16 PM

awww ya? how would you know that penis licker? suck my dck.


thereapersson_ 10/18/2006 5:58:05 AM

I saw this f*cking coming a mile away. Cave the f*ck in and listen to this already!


moron_ 10/19/2006 7:47:53 PM

didnt read the review, but the album is incredible.


anonymous 12/23/2011 6:30:45 AM

Its hard to pin point what Croatoan is? Death Metal? Progressive Hardcore dont know? Dont matter! this album rip from beginning to the last track its not for everyone, but if your open minded and sick of cookie cutter heavy music outthere check this mutha out!


anonymous 12/23/2011 6:43:23 AM

Its hard to pin point what Croatoan is? Death Metal? Progressive Hardcore dont know? Dont matter! this album rip from beginning to the last track its not for everyone, but if your open minded and sick of cookie cutter heavy music outthere check this mutha out!