Systemhouse 33 – Depths of Despair (2013)

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Pounding riffs. Pummeling grooves. A hoarse, gravel-throat vocal attack. Mosh-inducing song structures. Album art and production that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Helmet, Meshuggah or Pantera album. Once the senses-lulling intro subsides, Systemhouse33 pull me into their world of pure 90s metal worship. For a second I feel like I’m at a gig from 1994, surrounded by kids wearing Prong and Pro-Pain shirts, moshing it out to unconsciously second-hand hardcore punk riffs played through a thrash/groove metal processor. The odd melody seeps in, then makes way for another headbang inducing groove aided with some crushing drum work. The aggression never subsides. Songwriting, however, seemingly serves a purpose higher than just invoking neanderthal fist-fights. Songs like “Resistance” contrast well with more direct numbers such as “Death Wish” in their layered approach of building up angst through slower tempos then unleashing it with violent intent.

If you’re much of a stage-diver, do take a second out of your busy mosh-life to stand up on stage with the vocalist and shout along the lyrics – or air-guitar to the deliciously tasty solos. It’s a travesty that songs this good are ignored by the metal community, because they don’t cater to the typical thrash audience whose music sensibility has a narrowed periphery not unlike a mule. Listen if you enjoy the materials of say, Fear Factory. Don’t expect tuetonic thrash riffs stolen from a 1984 demo to come up.

Upon asking the guitarist I realized that the production is all home-based and DIY. An obvious advantage can be immediately heard – the band sounds like this sort of industrial tinged groove/thrash should ideally sound. Clear despite the distortion, fluid despite the mechanical sound. The sound of robotic structures smashing through human architectural constructs never sounded more adequate.

The album begins as it ends – with a serene instrumental, displaying the band’s post-rock sensibilities. These guys apparently have an indie band too. Though I can’t imagine these blokes transitioning from such aggressive drunk-drive anthems to playing mellow indie – I willingly indulge in suspension of disbelief when the intro/outro sequence plays with my brain. I haven’t heard their past work and I don’t know what their future material will sound like but this is a solid fucking slab of 90’s style metal made in India, that outdoes all its American counterparts with relative ease. No vulgar display necessary in outdoing the ‘yanks.’

SH33

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 – Hassan Dozakhi

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