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Johnny Truant No Tears for the Creatures

Johnny Truant - No Tears for the Creatures
01. The Grotesque
02. Death Rides
03. Last Arms of the Apocalypse
04. Widower
05. Crush and Devour
06. In Alcoholica
07. Dead Ships Sinking
08. Sunshine Diver
09. Fog Lights
10. The Weeping, Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth
2008 Ferret Music

Reviewed by: Rob Parker   //   Published: 10/20/2008

When a hardcore or metal band name themselves after a literary character, it's usually safe to assume one of two things: either they're pretentious artsier-than-thou wank-fanatics that read a few pages of the novel and decided it would make them appear cultured and "intelligent." Or they're utterly generic, trying to make up for their lack of creativity by banking on pseudo-esoteric references and riding the coattails of someone else's ideas. (It also offers a quick marketing gimmick by tagging the band as playing "thinking man's metal.")

So I'm naturally skeptical when it comes to Johnny Truant, named after the addict-turned-editor from Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves. To their credit, Johnny Truant lack the preening pretentiousness of other semi-literate heavy bands, and while their ideas aren't always original, they're at least well-executed.

At first blush, Johnny Truant's "No Tears for the Creatures" comes off as a metalcore band trying to "push the genre forward" but "remain true to its roots" which is to say: unapologetically steal as many ideas as they can from [Botch/Coalesce/Cave In]'s playbook. As a result, the album is almost entirely composed of chugging, discordant riffs, complex rhythmic patterns and more deedle-deedle riffing than beards at a Baroness show.

There's less of the overt experimentalism that showed up later in Botch's career, but Johnny Truant pull off something I haven't heard in a while: pulling off almost every ounce of passion behind a style of songwriting that has become increasingly threadbare over the years. The production isn't squeaky-clean, and it adds a bit of visceral edge to the music - something that's been missing in metalcore for a long bloody time. No syrupy clean vocals. No noodling instrumental interludes. Not even any hackeneyed piano outros. "No Tears for the Creatures" is predominantly roiling, chaotic metal-inflected hardcore.

And, by god, the songwriting is tight. As much as Johnny Truant rely on the chugging riffs to get through the song, none of it sounds monotonous or utterly over the top. Even when their tracks reach the 6- and 7-minute mark, (particularly on "Fog Lights" and "The Weeping, Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth") they capably segue from the churning riffage into some organic-sounding Cult of Neurisis-style atmospherics. Furthermore, some recognition needs to go out to the drumming on this album, as Paul Jackson isn't content just bashing out the same standard-issue jud-jud-jud rhythms, and uses the cymbals for more than just background noise.

So while Johnny Truant make no apologies for wearing their influences on their collective sleeve, after listening to a couple tracks off their previous albums, "No Tears for the Creatures" is certainly a step forward in the context of this band's career. The vocals are much more confidently executed, and there is a greater sense of dynamics at work, and in spite of the band's propensity to sound so similar to their influences it borders on homage, they still manage to mold a slight sense of identity.

Bottom Line: No Tears for the Creatures is a pretty decent listen. At no point did I feel so overcome with disgust that I needed to eject the disc, break it into small pieces and masturbate on the remains. Which, coming from me, is a pretty strong endorsement for a metalcore album. All that said, how many times have we heard this stuff The Cult of Neurisis-isms, the Botch/Coalesce/early Cave In worship Johnny Truant generally do it with greater passion and intensity than their peers, but unless you're just casting off your baggy jeans, chain wallet and Linkin Park t-shirt this week, No Tears for the Creatures won't change your life.

anonymous   posted 10/31/2008 7:36:47 PM
lol, not f*ckin' likely.

Borked up, yo.
Dave2112_   posted 10/31/2008 6:15:58 AM
Whats next? Hopefully a better Johnny Truant record..
ScreaminJayHawkins_   posted 10/24/2008 5:09:18 AM
Everytime I think lambgoat reviewing has reached the worst humanly attainable level of gay, it gets worse. Really, what the f*ck is next?
swooped_hair_faggol_   posted 10/24/2008 12:27:15 AM
hotslutswithtits_   posted 10/23/2008 10:35:47 PM
suck my f*cking dck

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