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Advocate From Soil Laced With Lyme

Advocate - From Soil Laced With Lyme
1. Dawner
2. Potters Field
3. Burrow
4. Untitled
5. Pearl
6. Sell By
7. Revolver
8. Half Life
9. Consumed
2003 Happy Couples Never Last Records

Reviewed by: Jhonn Thomassen   //   Published: 4/14/2003

From what I understand, Providence, RI doesn't have the biggest hardcore or metal scene out there. When I visited the city less than a month ago, it seemed like crusty punk stuff was much more popular than anything remotely "heavy." Regardless of whether or not the above observations are correct, Providence does have Advocate, which is better than nothing. The band's first full-length, titled "From Soil Laced With Lyme," is probably one of the better "screamy metal" bands I've heard in a good while. It's far from ingenious, but it's certainly enjoyable. I imagine that if you like anything by Scarlet or Eyes Upon Separation, you'll probably take in Advocate just as easily.

The album begins with "Dawner," a sort of Daughters-esque track that sets the tone for the whole album, a tone which is chaotic and dark to say the least. Following that are "Potter's Field" and "Burrow," both of them resembling Converge's later material, specifically "Jane Doe." Track four is a short instrumental piece, which launches into "Pearl," again resembling Converge, especially the style in which the lyrics are written, i.e. introspective but still accessible to most listeners. "Sell By" through "Half Life" are the duller songs on the album, sounding more like Nientara and Heartscarved than anything else. "Consumed" is a slower song unlike all the other, fast-paced tracks, but it again eventually speeds up as it folds into the last song, "KYLMA TALVI LUMI MYRSKY," another instrumental that could have easily come off of Converge's "Caring and Killing."

It's also worthwhile to mention the artwork, too, which was done by Advocate's resident guitarist/tattoo artist Kevin Bledsoe. I only say this because A) the booklet folds out into a little mini-poster with a giant center piece that would make a great back tat, and B) Kevin is a nice guy. As a last note, the recording was done by none other than Kurt Ballou, so I guess it has that traditional "Ballou" sound, meaning it doesn't sound like shit, but I'm really beginning to wonder if bands realize that there are other talented producers out there as well. At any rate, the whole effort is very clean and even, albeit a bit two-dimensional and flat. The drumming is very quick, especially when it comes to rolls, and the guitar work is creative enough, though the vocals come off as monotone and a little too dry.

Bottom Line: This is definitely agreeable stuff. It takes a few listens for it to really sink in, but overall this album is great, especially compared to their first 7". The only problem with this effort is that it's not very memorable, There just aren't enough really catchy riffs or parts that keep you coming back. This is one of those albums that you can pop in once every few weeks just to remember how it goes, rock out and dance, and then put it away. I'm probably giving this album more flack than I should, since it really is a solid effort, but this whole genre is usually dragged down due to too much chaos and not enough "hooks." Either way, check these guys out on MP3.com or on the HCNL site, conveniently located at hcnl.com. You may not be thrilled at their sound, but I guarantee you won't be disgusted by it.


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